Your Takeaways:

  • Common IRS forms include W-2s for employment income, 1099s for other income like dividends and interest, and 1098s for mortgage and student loan interest paid.
  • Filing for a tax extension with Form 4868 gives you an extra 6 months to complete your tax return and collect all relevant forms, but does not extend the deadline to pay any taxes owed.

The IRS has over 800 different forms and schedules. While this may seem like a lot, most people only use about 10 of them in their lifetime. 

In this article, we’ll go over the most common IRS forms and how to use them.

What Are the Most Common Forms?

Important tax documentation enclosed

Some of the most commonly used IRS forms don't even have to be filled out. Instead, these forms simply provide you with the information you need to fill out your own tax forms.

W-2: Employment Income

If you're an employee, you will receive a W-2.

Key information included on your W-2 includes:

  • Income earned

  • Taxes paid/withheld

  • Benefits received

  • Reductions to taxable income (i.e., 401(k) contributions, etc.)

Your employer should fill out this form and send it to you each year no later than January 31st.

1099: Other Forms of Income

A 1099 is generally issued to you when you earn income from someone other than a traditional employer. This may be from investment returns, a side gig, or any number of other means.

Some of the most common 1099 forms include:

  • 1099-NEC: Nonemployee compensation

  • 1099-DIV: Investment dividends and distributions

  • 1099-INT: Interest you've earned on a savings account

  • 1099-K: Income from a third-party payment platform

  • 1099-B: Income from the sale of securities at a brokerage

While this list is not exhaustive, it does cover common 1099s you may come across in a given year. Most 1099s are sent by January 31st.

1098: Mortgage or Student Loan Interest Statement

Interest paid on the mortgage of your primary residence and student loan interest is tax-deductible. Therefore, your lender will provide you with a Form 1098 that details the interest you've paid on your loan.

For mortgage interest, you should receive Form 1098, which includes the following:

  • Mortgage interest received
  • Mortgage origination date
  • Refund of overpaid interest
  • Mortgage premiums paid
  • Points paid when purchasing a property

Student loan interest is also tax deductible.

For interest paid on a student loan, you should receive Form 1098-E. This form lists the amount of student loan interest you've paid to that lender during the year.

A man completing his tax forms by hand.

Form 1040: Federal Tax Income Form

W-2s, 1099s, and 1098s all give you the information that you need to fill out a Form 1040, better known as your individual income tax return. Form 1040 is what you use to give the IRS a snapshot of your income, deductions, credits, and ultimately how much you owe in taxes each year. 

A Form 1040 does four things:

  • Tells the IRS who you are and gives them information about you, such as your filing status, and how many dependents you have.

  • Calculates your taxable income, which helps you determine and report how much of the income you earned during the year is taxable.

  • Calculates your tax liability, which determines how much you owe in taxes.

  • Determines your year-end tax bill or refund, so you know if your withholdings covered your taxes for the year, if you've overpaid, or if you owe the IRS additional money.

Form 1040 also has several different attachments (also known as schedules) that help you arrive at the calculations necessary to complete the form.

Some of the most commonly used attachments include:

  • Schedule A: If you choose to itemize your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction, then you'll need to complete this attachment.
  • Schedule B: This is used to report any taxable interest or dividends that you received.
  • Schedule C: This is where you report profits and losses if you’re a freelancer (self-employed) or own a small business. This is also where you can deduct certain business expenses to help lower your tax liability.
  • Schedule D: This is used to report capital gains and losses. (Be sure to keep track of your losses to offset any capital gains.)

What Tax Forms Should I Complete During the Year?

W-4: Tax Withholdings

A W-4 tells your employer how much money should be withheld from your paycheck to pay federal taxes. Essentially, it informs your employer what they should be withholding in taxes based on your filing status or number of dependents.

Most people fill out a W-4 on their first day of work and don't submit another one until they start a new job. However, if big life events - like getting married or having a child - occur while you remain at a job, you should consider revising your W-4. That way, you can get keep more of your money up front instead of waiting to claim it as part of your tax return.

Form 4868: Extension Filing

If you need a little extra time to complete Form 1040, you can submit Form 4868 to get an extension to file your taxes. Form 4868 must be submitted by the original tax deadline, which is typically April 15th every year (unless the 15th falls on a holiday or weekend).

Filing an extension is a great way to get extra time to collect your tax documents, but remember that it does not give you extra time to pay any taxes you owe.

Where Can I Find Common IRS Forms?

All IRS forms can be found in a digital format on the IRS Website.

What If I Need More Time to Collect My Forms?

The best way to get additional time to collect and organize your forms to fill out your tax return is by filing a tax extension. By filing an extension, you'll get an additional 6 months to file your taxes.

Get started filing now.

Filed Under:

See what some of the hundreds of thousands of satisifed customers have to say about our services:

Levi C
Levi C


I got approved within a couple days for my tax extension filing through these guys and they responded to my email the same day. Great customer service and fast results. Give them a shot.


Great Service!!

This is the second year that I used this service. Each time, the process was quick, easy and efficient. I will definitely be using this service in the future and will recommend it to friends and family.


Fantastic Site!!

The process was so easy. I processed this extension in a matter of minutes! For you last minute filers out there, come here. It'll help you end your long day in peace!

File your extension today!
Get Started