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Video: When to Use Tax Form 1040

Updated for Tax Year 2017


OVERVIEW

Choosing which tax form to use can sometimes be tricky. In most cases, filing a 1040 is the way to go. This video will help you decide which 1040 tax form is right for you, the 1040EZ, the 1040A or the full standard 1040 form.


Beginning with tax year 2018, the 1040EZ and 1040A forms will no be available. They are replaced by the Form 1040.

When to Use Tax Form 1040

Most people would like to keep filing their income tax return as simple as possible. There are three common IRS tax form variations for filing your tax return: the 1040EZ, 1040A and the standard 1040 tax form. Learn more about choosing the simplest and most appropriate 1040 tax form for your unique individual situation by watching this TurboTax tax tip video.

Video transcript:

Hi, I'm Arye from TurboTax with some important information about when to use a 1040 tax form.

There are three common variations:

  1. 1040EZ
  2. 1040A
  3. and the standard 1040 form

When it comes to taxes, most people would like to keep it as simple as possible. Form 1040EZ is the simplest form, but you can only file one if you meet a few requirements:

  • Your filing status is single or married filing jointly, and you don’t claim dependents
  • Your taxable income is less than $100,000
  • You don’t claim any adjustments to income
  • You don’t claim any credits other than the Earned Income Credit
  • And you don’t itemize your deductions

The 1040A is only two pages and covers most common income, credits and deductions, but can only be used if the following is true.

  1. You aren’t itemizing deductions.
  2. Your taxable income is less than $100,000.
  3. Your only adjustments to income are the IRA deduction, the Student Loan Interest deduction, the Educator Expenses deduction, and the Tuition and Fees deduction.
  4. And the only credits you are claiming are the Child and Dependent Care Credit, the Earned Income Credit, the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled, education credits, the Child Tax Credit, the Additional Child Tax Credit, or the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit.

If you're wondering if you need to file with the full standard 1040 form, ask yourself these questions.

  1. Do you need to report more than $100,000 of taxable income?
  2. Have you received at least $20 in tips in any month during the tax year and not reported it to your employer?
  3. Have you earned income from alimony or self-employment?
  4. Did your employer fail to withhold any federal income tax from your wages?
  5. Do you have an obligation to report other taxes, such as the self-employment tax?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you'll need to file a standard 1040. You may also need to file a 1040 if you claim certain credits or deductions. For example, if you itemize your deductions you'll need to fill out a 1040, as you can't attach the Schedule A form needed for itemized deductions to either a 1040EZ or 1040A.

Remember, with TurboTax, we’ll ask you simple questions and fill out the right forms for you. For more information about this and other tax topics, visit TurboTax.com.

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The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

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