Every year, taxpayers must file their returns by completing and submitting a version of Form 1040. A survey conducted by the IRS on the amount of time and money it takes to file this form revealed the following facts;

  • Form 1040 – Form 1040 is the most detailed of the tax return forms. 68% of taxpayers use Form 1040 to file their returns. On average, taxpayers filing Form 1040 take 22 hours to file. Of these 22 hours, taxpayers use up to 10 hours to maintain relevant tax records, 3 hours to plan their taxes, 4 hours to complete the actual form, and 1 hour to submit the form. 3 hours are spent doing other miscellaneous tax-related activities, such as searching for information on the Internet. The survey also revealed that the average cost incurred in completing this form is $290.
  • Form 1040A – According to the same IRS survey, 19% of taxpayers use Form 1040A to file their returns. Those taxpayers who opt for the easier Form 1040A will take an average of 10 hours to file the form. The time is broken down as follows; 4 hours for record keeping, 1 hour for tax planning, 3 hours to complete the form, 1 hour to submit, and 2 hours for miscellaneous related activities. It costs an average of $120 to file Form 1040A.
  • Form 1040EZ – Form 1040EZ is the least time consuming tax filing form and is used by taxpayers who have fewer tax details. Only 13% of taxpayers opt for this declaration model. According to the IRS survey, it takes an average of 7 hours to file this form. Of this time, 2 hours are used to complete tax-related records, 1 hour for tax planning, 2 hours to complete the form, 1 hour to submit, and 1 hour to handle other related activities. According to the survey, the taxpayer who files this Form 1040EZ will incur an average of $50 for the filing process.
  • Business and Non-Business – The IRS survey also compares the time and costs spent on business and non-business tax returns. Generally, business tax returns are 1040 tax return forms that include filing any of Sections C, E, F, and C-EZ of the form. They also include taxpayers who file Forms 2106 and 2106-EZ. All other filers are considered non-commercial filers. According to the survey, business-related filing takes an average of 32 hours, of which 16 hours are spent filing records, 4 hours planning, 6 hours filling out the form, 1 hour submitting, and 4 hours handling other related tasks. On average, it costs $410 to file a business-related return. On the other hand, a non-commercial return takes an average of 12 hours to complete. Of these 12 hours, 2 hours are dedicated to planning, 5 to keeping records, 3 to completing the form, 1 to submitting, and 1 hour to handling other related activities.

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