Reporting Social Security Tax Withheld—Preparing Your 1040

Reporting Tax Payments on Form 1040

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Completing IRS Form 1040 isn't just about tallying up all the sources of income you took in during the year. Tax payments are reported on lines 17 through 18d on the 2019 tax return, and they're totaled on line 18e. They're applied to your total tax and they'll result either in an overpayment—which means you'll receive a refund—or an underpayment, so you'll owe a balance.

Tax payments that appear on these lines include withholding, estimated tax payments, the Earned Income Tax Credit, excess Social Security withholding, the Additional Child Tax Credit, and any payment you might have made if you asked for an extension of time to file. Here's how it all breaks down. 

The 2019 Form 1040—the tax return you'll file in 2020—is radically different from the one that was used for tax years 2017 and earlier. The IRS redesigned the 1040 tax return twice, once for 2018 and again for the 2019 tax year. All lines and boxes cited here refer to the 2019 version of the form.

Line 17: Withholding on W-2 and 1099

Gather your W-2 Forms and 1099 statements for the year. Look at box 2 on the W-2s and at box 4 on your 1099s. Both should be titled, "Federal Income Tax Withheld."

The figures in these boxes report how much income tax was withheld from your income over the course of the year. Add up all these amounts and report the total on line 17 of your Form 1040. 

Taxes typically aren't withheld from 1099 income, so you're likely to find that box 4 is blank.

Attach one copy of your W-2 form to the front of your 1040 when you file if you don't electronically file your return. Otherwise, the IRS already has a copy because your employer files one with them as well. You should attach one copy of each of your 1099 forms as well if you have any.

Income tax isn't withheld from 1099 income in most cases. Some income sources from which it might be include:

  • 1099-G, box 4: Withholding on unemployment income
  • 1099-R, box 4: Withholding on retirement income
  • SSA-1099, box 6: Withholding on Social Security benefits
  • 1099-INT, box 4: Withholding on interest income
  • 1099-DIV, box 4: Withholding on dividend income
  • 1099-MISC, box 4: Withholding on miscellaneous and non-employee compensation

Line 18a: Earned Income Tax Credit

The amount of the Earned Income Tax Credit you're entitled to if you qualify for the credit goes on line 18a of your Form 1040. You can determine how much of a credit you qualify for by completing Schedule EIC.

Tax credits act just like payments you've made. They come off your tax obligation dollar for dollar. Some are even refundable, so the IRS will send you the cash if there's anything left over after potentially erasing what you owe.

If you're also making a nontaxable combat pay election, enter this amount on line 18a as well.

Line 18b: Additional Child Tax Credit

Claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit is a two-step process. First you must make sure you qualify by answering some questions found on pages 16 through 18 of the 2019 Instructions for Form 1040. Your initial Child Tax Credit may be reduced by any tax you might owe, but you might be able to claim the balance as an Additional Child Tax Credit by completing and filing Form 8812.

Complete Form 8812 to find out if you qualify and, if so, how much of a credit you're entitled to. You'll find this number on line 15 of the 2019 form. Enter it on line 18b of your 1040. 

Line 18c: American Opportunity Tax Credit

The American Opportunity Tax Credit is for educational costs you paid on behalf of you, your spouse, or any of your dependents. You can calculate it by completing Form 8863. The amount of the credit you're entitled to appears on line 8 of Form 8863, and you would enter this amount on line 18c of your 1040 tax return. 

Line 18d: Estimated Tax Payments

Add up any quarterly estimated tax payments you might have made during the year. You might have done this because you expected you would owe more than the amount of your withholding, perhaps due to self-employment income, interest, or dividends. Include any portion of refunds from previous years that you elected to apply toward your current year's tax obligation.

Enter this total on line 8 of Schedule 3, which accompanies the 2019 return, and on line 18d of your 1040.

Line 18d: Net Premium Tax Credit

This is another credit that must be entered on Schedule 3. It's intended to reimburse you for some portion of the health insurance premiums you paid if you purchased your policy through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Complete Form 8962 to determine whether you qualify for the Premium Tax Credit and, if so, how much of a credit you're entitled to. 

The amount of your credit goes on line 9 of Schedule 3, and the total from lines 8 through 14 of Schedule 3 transfers to line 18d of the 2019 Form 1040.

Line 18d: Amount Paid With Extension to File 

If you asked for an automatic extension to file your tax return by submitting Form 4868 to the IRS, and if you made a payment with the form, enter the amount on line 10 of Schedule 3. This, too, transfers with the total from lines 8 through 14 to line 18d of your 1040.

You can skip this line if you didn't file for an extension or didn't make a payment with your extension.

Line 18d: Excess Social Security Tax

Excess Social Security tax is calculated based on each year's maximum Social Security tax limits. The maximum Social Security tax was $8,239.80 in 2019, which represents 6.2% of taxable wages up to the 2019 Social Security wage base of $132,900. Your employer would match this and pay another 6.2%.

You don't have to pay Social Security tax on wages over the wage base, at least for the current year.

This maximum limit can increase annually, so make sure you get the right number for the year for which you're filing a tax return. 

You can find out how much you paid into Social Security by checking box 4 on all your W-2 statements. Add up the amounts that appear in this box if you have multiple W-2s, then compare your total to the maximum Social Security tax for the year. You can claim the excess as a refund if the total exceeds the maximum. The excess is your total Social Security withholding minus the maximum.

Enter this on line 11 of Schedule 3, and transfer the total from Schedule 3 to line 18d of your Form 1040. You can skip this line if your total is less than the maximum.

Line 18d: Credit for Federal Tax on Fuels

Form 4136 reports federal taxes paid on gasoline and other fuels if you used the fuel for allowable non-taxable purposes. Your payment amount appears on page 4, line 17. This number is also entered on line 12 of Schedule 3, and the total from this section of the schedule is transferred to line 18d of your 2019 Form 1040.

Other Payments

Check the appropriate box or boxes on line 13 of Schedule 3 and report the amount if you made any payments using IRS Forms 2439 or 8885.

  • Form 2439 reports undistributed long-term capital gains to shareholders of regulated investment companies or real estate investment trusts. This number goes on line 13a of Schedule c.
  • Form 8885 reports a tax credit for certain displaced workers who paid for continued health insurance after being laid off. You should receive Form 8885 if you were an eligible trade adjustment assistance (TAA) recipient, alternate TAA recipient, or Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation pension recipient and you were covered by an eligible health insurance plan. Your tax credit amount is reported on Form 8885, line 5, and it goes on line 13c of Schedule C to be transferred to your 1040.

Line 19: Total Payments

Add up all the amounts that appear on Form 1040 lines 17 through 18e. Report the total on line 19. This amount represents your total tax payments throughout the year.

Article Sources

  1. IRS. "Here Are Five Facts About the New Form 1040." Accessed June 25, 2020.

  2. IRS. "Credits and Deductions for Individuals." Accessed June 25, 2020.

  3. IRS. "Publication 972 Child Tax Credit and Credit for Other Dependents." Page 5. Accessed June 25, 2020.

  4. IRS. "Estimated Taxes." Accessed June 25, 2020.

  5. IRS. "The Premium Tax Credit - The Basics." Accessed June 25, 2020.

  6. Social Security Administration. "OASDI and SSI Program Rates & Limits, 2019." Accessed June 25, 2020.