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Tax Carnival #99: Daylight Tax Time

22 hours needed to complete Form 1040

How long does it take you to fill out your tax return?

22 hours to fill out Form 1040 version 2011If you are you an average taxpayer, the Internal Revenue Service says it takes you around 22 hours to finish your Form 1040.

For 1040A filers, it takes less than half that, just 10 hours.

And you only need seven hours to finish a 1040EZ.

Bet you are really wishing you had that lost daylight saving time hour back.

Me, too.

And because the time leap forward costs us an hour during filing season, the 22 hours for finishing up a long 1040 earns this week's By the Numbers honors.

More than just filling in lines: I know what you're thinking.

Yes, it takes a while to plug in all the Form 1040 information, even when using tax software.

But how can it take 22 hours?

Because the IRS' time estimate, or time burden as it appropriately calls it, includes more than just filling out the form itself.

That takes a 1040 filer just around four hours.

But then you've got the hour it takes to actually submit it, along with three hours of tax planning, 10 hours of record keeping and another three hours or so on other tax filing related taxes.

Rounding up the total of those hours spent on a 1040, says the IRS, comes to 22 total hours.

This average, says the IRS, includes all associated forms and schedules across all tax preparation methods.

Average cost of a return: The IRS also calculated the annual returns' average dollar cost to each filer.

For a 1040 taxpayer, that's around $290.

Out-of-pocket expenses include such things as tax return preparation and submission fees, as well as postage, copying and tax software costs.

A 1040A filer's average cost is $120. It costs the average 1040EZ taxpayer around $50.

The table below gives tax return time and cost burdens for the 2011 tax year.

1040 estimated time to complete 2012 Click image (or here) to enlarge.

At least with the clocks turned ahead, we get an extra hour of daylight during which we can work on our taxes!

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In 30 years of filing tax returns, it has never taken me more than 15 minutes to finish my Form 1040. Sheesh, really.

Job Duties

Good description has been given about time.

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