How to Fill Out Form 1040-SR: Tips for Seniors

Many senior taxpayers don’t know how to fill out form 1040-SR, considering it just another alternative to form 1040. While this form is really an optional choice, it may be more comfortable to file for taxpayers who are 65 years old and more. Meanwhile, if you know how to file form 1040, you will not have any problems with form 1040-SR.

What Is Form 1040-SR

Form 1040-SR is also known as a tax return for seniors. It is very similar to the 1040 form with the same instructions and schedules. If you had filed form 1040 every year, you would quickly get used to the 1040-SR alternative. The form is recommended to the elderly who are 65 years old and more. It is slightly different from the standard form 1040. The form was created by the IRS in 2018 to make the whole process of the tax return easier for seniors. It has a larger print than form 1040 and contains the deduction table directly on the form. Seniors can easily find all the standard deduction amounts on it.

If you want to know more about how to get form 1040-SR, you can read a separate article on the topic by following the link. However, the form also must be filed annually, so no matter which tax form you use, you still have to do it on time and with correct numbers.

Who Can Use the 1040-SR Form

This is the IRS simple tax return for seniors and can be filed only by people who are 65 years and older. There are no other extra attachments to the form. You don’t even have to take the standard deduction with this form. Since both 1040 and 1040-SR are identical by purpose and information, 1040-SR is used more frequently by the elderly who prefer filing tax returns by hand than electronically. It can be used by the elderly who have poor sight.

How to Fill Out Form 1040-SR

Here are the form 1040-SR instructions that you may find helpful. The form contains 4 pages. Don’t worry; they are simple to follow. The letters and boxes are bigger than in form 1040 and thus more visible. The best way is to fill the form with the help of PDFLiner. It is available in PDF format and simple to follow. Start by reading all the pages of the form before you file it. You will have to provide the following information:

  • Your personal data, including the filing status, name, last name, address, SSN, and SSN of your spouse if you are married;
  • Put a tick near the box that matches your claim in the Standard Deduction section;
  • Provide information about dependents;
  • Information about taxes;
  • Data about refund;
  • Amount of money you owe;
  • If there is a person you want to allow to discuss the return with the IRS, you have to write down the name and phone of a third-party designee;
  • Put your signature and date. If you have a spouse, there must be spouse’s signature as well;
  • You and spouse’s occupation and PIN;
  • The section for the paid preparer use;
  • The 4th page contains a standard deduction chart which you may find helpful.

Basically, this form may also reveal:

  • Salaries, wages, tips, scholarships that are taxable, or grants;
  • Taxable interest;
  • Tax-exempt interest;
  • Ordinary or qualified dividends;
  • Taxable amounts of the IRA distributions;
  • Social security benefits and taxable amounts;
  • Pensions and taxable amounts;
  • Total capital losses and gains;
  • Different types of income you may find in Schedule 1 of the IRS form 1040 SR, with unemployment compensation if there is any;
  • Charitable contributions deduction if it is above the line;
  • Adjusted gross income;
  • Itemized deductions or standard deduction;
  • Taxes and taxable income;
  • Business income deduction qualified as such;
  • Figures you may find in Schedule 2 and 3;
  • Credits for dependents and children;
  • Self-employment tax if there is any;
  • Income federal tax from the forms 1099 and W-2;
  • Previous year’s tax return estimated payments;
  • Earned income credit.

How to Sign Form 1040-SR

You can sign the form electronically or by hand. If you decide to sign it by hand, you will have to print, complete, and sign the form, and file a 1040-SR via regular mail. It might take some time, and during the lockdown, it is not really safe. Another option is to use the PDFLiner service, which offers you to sign documents online, right after you fill them with the required information, without any need to download and print the form. If you want to know the details of how to sign a 1040-SR form, there is an article with recommendations on this blog. Briefly, all you have to do is upload the document or use the one you have already opened in PDFLiner, push the “Sign” button above the text, and press the field where you have to put the signature. Add the latter further.

How to File Form 1040-SR

As well as form 1040, form 1040-SR can be filed electronically. You don’t have to leave your home to do this. However, you can also use regular mail. For this, you have to print out the form, complete it, sign it, and send it to the IRS office. If you choose this method, you have to find out the address of your state department. Check the IRS website for this information.

The form must be filed annually during the tax month. In 2021, the federal tax filing deadline was extended for individuals. You can file the form until May 17. Yet, the quarterly estimated tax payments must still be sent till April 15.


Here are the most popular questions about form 1040-SR. Read the questions and the answers to them before you proceed to fill the form. If there is no information about the question that you are interested in, you can always search in the blog.
What is form 1040-SR used for?
This form is used to report the tax return for seniors. It is an alternative to form 1040. The form must be completed and sent to the IRS in a way similar to 1040.
What can senior citizens deduct from taxes?
There is a standard deduction that you can take advantage of. You will find it on Schedule A. You can even claim a higher standard deduction if you are 65 and older. Medical and dental expenses, which are usually the largest expenses for elderly people, charitable contributions, house selling, contributions of retirement plan, and business expenses. Seniors who fill out the 1040-SR form take the standard deduction. The amount differs every year. In 2020, it was $1,650 additionally, which was $13,850 per tax year for 65-year-old people and older.
Do seniors pay taxes on Social Security income?
Social security benefits may be collected by a person of 62 and older. Yet, many taxpayers nowadays prefer to wait for later and collect more. Social security benefits may be taxable by the IRS, and it depends on the additional income you report.
Can you e-file 1040-SR?
Yes, you can send 1040-SR electronically. You can do it via PDFLiner, or directly on the IRS website. You don’t have to leave your house to go anywhere.
Is there a difference between Form 1040-SR and Form 1040?
There is no significant difference between these two forms. You may still file form 1040. However, 1040-SR features bigger letters, visible boxes, and detailed explanations. It goes with a helpful chart you need to complete the form. If you used form 1040, you would learn this alternative in no time.
Printable Blank Form 1040-SR
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