Who Can Use Form 1040EZ?
Form 1040 EZ is the shortest, simplest tax form an individual can use to file income taxes with the IRS. Here s how to tell if this is the form for you, or if you ll have to file using the longer forms 1040 or the 1040A.
1. Are You Single?
If you re single, you can use the 1040EZ. However, if you have dependents then you ll have to graduate to one of the other 1040s.
2. Are You Married?
Married people can use Form 1040EZ but only if they file as married filing jointly. Also, they can claim no dependents.
3. What s Your Taxable Income?
If your taxable income is $100,000 or more, then you cannot use the EZ. Taxable income is your annual total income minus deductions, allowances and exemptions. So, if you re on the line then you ll actually have to figure your taxes a bit before knowing whether you can use Form 1040EZ.
4. How Old Are You?
You must be under the age of 65. If you re filing jointly the so must your spouse.
5. Do You Make a Lot in Interest?
If your interest income for the year exceeds $1500 then the 1040 EZ is not for you.
6. Do You Claim a Lot of Credits?
The only credit you can claim on the IRS 1040 EZ is the Earned Income Credit.
7. Do You Plan on Itemizing Your Deductions?
Then forget about using 1040 EZ. You ll have to use IRS Form 1040.
8. Have You Filed Bankruptcy?
If you filed Chapter 11 since October 16, 2005 then you cannot use the EZ form.
9. Do You Have a Household Employee?
If you do, and you owe household employment taxes on his or her wages, it s not possible to use 1040EZ.
10. Did You Earn Tips?
And if you did, take a look at your W-2. If your tips are included in boxes 5 and 7 then you cannot use 1040EZ.
11. What are Your Sources of Income?
If they are anything other than what s on the following list, then the 1040EZ is a no go .
- salary or salaries
- unemployment compensation
- taxable scholarship fellowship grants, dividends from the Alaska Permanent Fund
Form 1040EZ, Form 1040A, or Form 1040: What s the Difference?
Why not just use the tax form that covers everything? That would be the 1040, also called the long form. Because that s like driving a tank around the neighborhood to do your errands.
the 1040 is overkill if you can get away with using the 1040EZ
Unless you enjoy filling out tax forms, the idea here is to choose the version of the 1040 that s the simplest and still handles everything it needs to for your situation. The 1040EZ is one age. The 1040 is well multiple pages. With the EZ form you can literally be done filing your taxes in under ten minutes.
If you re using online tax filing programs or software that you purchased, then it s going to be free. If you re paying an accountant then it will be much cheaper than if he or she had to fill out the longer forms.
You ve seen what it takes (or doesn t take) to qualify for using IRS Form 1040EZ to file your taxes. Form 1040A isn t much different, except that it can handle a few more sources of income, a few more deductions and a few more credits. More specifically, the list above plus the following things:
- income from pensions, annuities, IRAs, taxable retirement benefits, interest, capital gains, ordinary dividends
- the IRA deduction
- the student loan interest deduction
- the tuition fees deduction
- credit for child dependent care expenses
- credit for elderly or disabled
- education credits
- child tax credit
- retirement savings contribution credit
- additional child tax credit
Everything else goes on the long form, the IRS Form 1040.
Why You Probably Don t Need the 1040 EZ Instructions
Are you about to file your tax return? Good for you! You ll not only be saving money but also taking matters into your own hands and gaining control of your finances.
Plus, if you can get away with filing using the wonderfully simple and easy 1040 EZ, things just couldn t be any easier for you. Can you use the EZ?
Check out our handy list of questions to see if you qualify to use IRS 1040 EZ, the simplest of all federal income tax returns. These questions are taken directly from the 1040 EZ Instructions as printed by the IRS on their website.
Filing With the 1040 EZ
There are lots of ways to file your own taxes, especially if your financial life isn t all that complicated. Do it on paper and mail it in or better yet do it online, where most tax prep companies offer 1040 EZ plus instructions for free plus free e-filing.
What Do the 1040 EZ Instructions Say About Having to File?
As you may know, some people don t have to file an income tax return with the IRS:
- If your income is low enough, usually below the $10,000 mark for the year, then you won t owe any taxes.
- If you are elderly, the cut-off point for having to file taxes is about $1500 higher.
- Dependents (somebody else pays most of your living expenses, if not all of them) don t have to file either, unless annual income is more than $5,700
Reasons to File Anyway
According to the IRS, you might want to file even if they say you don t have to. The main reason for this would be to claim an IRS refund on salary withholding from your paychecks.
Why You Probably Shouldn t Read the 1040 EZ Instructions
The 43-page document that makes up the Instructions to Form 1040 EZ is much more complicated than the actual tax form. The best way to file the EZ form is to just start doing it. Don t bother with instructions unless you get stuck or have a very specific question pop up while preparing your return.
If you choose an online tax preparation company, they ll guide you through the form by asking questions and making it very simple for you to get through. Honestly, you should not ever need to consult the IRS website at all, since the 1040 EZ Instructions are a bit complicated and contain way more information than the average 1040 EZ filers needs.
The idea is to just start in, and if you have a question, then and only then should you even bother with the EZ instructions. Good luck!