Tax Return

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated August 5, 2020

What is a Tax Return?

A tax return is a set of forms that a taxpayer uses to calculate and report taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

How Does a Tax Return Work?

April 15 is the annual deadline for filing a tax return, though some types of taxpayers must file tax returns quarterly. Most individual taxpayers use one of the IRS's 1040 form in addition to forms that report or calculate taxes owed or paid on special types of income.

In general, a tax return involves calculating gross income, capital gains/losses, deductions, interest payments, distributions, and tax credits.

Why Does a Tax Return Matter?

Tax returns are the key components of the IRS's tax collection efforts. The IRS recommends that individual taxpayers keep their tax returns for at least seven years.