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Video: What Are Income Tax Forms?

Updated for Tax Year 2020


A number of tax forms exist to cover federal, state and city tax filing situations, but online filing can help you file your taxes accurately even if you can't tell one form from another. Discover why standardized forms make a difference in this video on tax basics.

Video transcript:

Hello, I'm Sara from TurboTax with some information about income tax forms.

You know that tax return you fill out each year, well that is just one of many income tax forms that exist. Whether the tax form deals with your federal, state, or even city income taxes, they all serve the same purpose. By creating a standard form, it allows the taxing agency to collect data on millions of tax payers but in a uniform way. Think about how mind boggling it would be if we all came up with our own method for reporting income taxes. Standardized forms avoid this potential problem.

You may not even realize it, but each income tax form forces you to calculate your taxes. Sometimes you may not even understand why you need to subtract one number from the other, but it's done that way for a reason.

Everything the tax form requires you to calculate is the result of a tax law on the books. Not every income tax form requires you to fill it out. In fact, many of the numbers that end up on your tax return come from forms that someone fills out for you. Frequently this may be the W-2 you receive from your employer to report your income and withholding for the year.

Without these forms, it would be nearly impossible to complete an accurate tax return. When you use TurboTax you don't need to know anything about tax forms. We'll ask you simple questions and put your answers in all the right forms for you. For more tax tips and guidance, visit TurboTax.com.

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