Don’t File the Wrong Tax Form
*This publication is only intended to be used for general informational purposes. Consult a tax professional for the most current data and/or personal advice.
Tax time is time of making decisions, so why make life more complicated than it has to be? Use the appropriate federal income tax form for your situation.
The options most individuals may choose from are forms 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040. You may download the form you want directly from the IRS website (www.irs.gov) or call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have it mailed to you. If you are using an online tax filing service, they will suggest forms for you based upon the financial information you share with them.
Form 1040EZ is by far the simplest to complete. However, the conditions to use it are strict, and you may neither itemize deductions nor receive a student loan interest deduction and education credit.
You may use Form 1040EZ if all of the following are true:
- Your taxable income is less than $100,000
- Your filing status is “single” or “married filing jointly”
- You claim no dependents
- You (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) were under 65 and not blind
- You have $1,500 or less of taxable interest income
The next easiest to fill out is Form1040A. While you still cannot itemize deductions, you can adjust your income to include IRA contributions, student loan interest deductions, unreimbursed educator expenses, and higher education tuition and fees. You may also claim a whole slew of credits.
You may use Form 1040A if:
- Your taxable income is below $100,000
- You have capital gain distributions
- You claim certain tax credits
- You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest
Your final option is Form1040. Because you may itemize deductions and claim the most tax credits and adjustments to income, it is more time-consuming to complete than the two others.
Use Form 1040 if:
- Your taxable income is $100,000 or more
- You claim itemized deductions
- You are reporting self-employment income
- You are reporting income from sale of property
- Using the correct form will not only save you money, it will save you time, making life a lot less taxing