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Video: When to Use Tax Form 1040

Updated for Tax Year 2015


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 if its right for you.

Hello, I’m Lisa Skelly from Turbo Tax with some information about using the 1040 form to file your taxes.

With so many IRS forms to choose from, preparing your taxes can get a little confusing before you even start. And although there are forms you can choose that are shorter in length than the 1040, such as the 1040A and 1040EZ, there are certain cases where you have no choice but to file on the full-length 1040 form.

There are many reasons why the IRS doesn’t allow certain taxpayers to file on the 1040A or 1040EZ. But some of the more common situations include earning $100,000 or more of taxable income, receiving at least $20 of tip income in any month during the tax year and failing to report it to your employer, earning income from certain sources, such as alimony or self-employment, your employer fails to withhold any federal income taxes from your wages or if you have an obligation to report other taxes, such as the self-employment tax.

If even one of these situations exists, you have no choice but to use the 1040 form.

In some cases, having to file on the 1040 is the result of the deductions and credits you choose to claim on your tax return. For example, if you determine that itemizing your deductions on Schedule A will save you more in tax than the standard deduction, the 1040EZ and 1040A are no longer options for you since the IRS doesn’t permit a Schedule A attachment to either of those forms.

Additionally, if you plan on taking a tax credit, you can never use the 1040EZ. And if claiming any credit other than the earned income tax credit, the 1040A is not an option either. However, when using the 1040 form, there are no restrictions on the tax credits you can report.

One thing to keep in mind as you decide whether to use the 1040 is that all citizens and residents of the United States are eligible to use it, regardless of whether they are eligible to use one of the other tax forms or not.

Not sure which form to use? When you file with TurboTax, you don’t need to know a thing about tax forms. We’ll ask you simple questions and fill in all the right forms for you.

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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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