A:

When you file your annual income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, there are three forms you may be able to use: 1040EZ, 1040A and 1040. 1040EZ is the simplest form, but only taxpayers who meet certain qualifications can use it.

You must choose single or married filing jointly as your filing status and you must not claim any dependents. You (and your spouse) must be 64 or younger at the end of the tax year and not blind.

Your taxable income must be less than $100,000 and can only come from the following sources: wages, salaries, tips, taxable scholarship and fellowship grants, unemployment compensation, and Alaska Permanent Fund dividends. If you received taxable interest, it must be $1,500 or less (if it is $1,500 or more, you must file Schedule B, and you can’t file schedules with form 1040EZ). Also, if your job pays tips, they must be accounted for in boxes 5 and 7 on your W-2.

You must not claim any tax credits other than the earned income tax credit (available to certain low-income taxpayers) and you can’t take any deductions other than the standard deduction. You must not owe any household employment taxes (which would only apply if you had a household employee) and, finally, you must not be in Chapter 11 bankruptcy if you filed for bankruptcy after October 16, 2005.

The IRS does not say that you must file form 1040A or form 1040 if you have dependents or if you have a deductible expense like student loan interest. You are allowed to file form 1040EZ in these circumstances; it just isn’t the best choice since it will cost you money. While form 1040EZ is faster to fill out and has minimal recordkeeping requirements, the savings you can achieve by taking all the credits and deductions you’re entitled to on one of the longer tax forms will usually be worth the effort.

RELATED FAQS
  1. What's the difference between IRS Forms 1040EZ and 1040A?

    Anyone can file Form 1040; however, you have to meet certain requirements to use 1040EZ or 1040A. Read Answer >>
  2. What’s the difference between IRS Forms 1040 and 1040EZ?

    Though very similar, the differences between the 1040 and 1040EZ Forms are significant when it comes to filing your tax return. ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Managing Wealth

    How & Where to File Form 1040 (And Which Version)

    All taxpayers need to know three things when filing a 1040: which form to use, how to file and where to file. After reading this, you'll know all three.
  2. Taxes

    Seven Deadly Sins to Avoid During Tax Season

    Make sure your tax return is error-free before filing with these seven tips.
  3. Personal Finance

    Newlyweds? Tips For Filing Your Tax Return

    For many couples, it pays to file for taxes together. But what are some of the obstacles you should watch out for?
  4. Taxes

    Tax Tips For First-Time Filers

    Here is a quick rundown on what you need to know if you're filing your taxes for the first time.
  5. Personal Finance

    The Ultimate Tax-Time Checklist

    Find out what information you need to pull together before filling out your return.
  6. Taxes

    Next Season, File Taxes On Your Own

    Master these fundamentals and you'll be doing your own taxes with minimal stress.
  7. Taxes

    Simple Last-Minute Tax Tips

    A little preparation and organization can take the stress out of last-minute tax filing.
  8. Taxes

    How To File A Canadian Tax Return

    The process for filing a Canadian tax return is easy and streamlined. Here is the information you need to know before filing.
  9. Taxes

    Common Tax Mistakes To Avoid

    Find out what mistakes people often make on their returns, and how to avoid them on yours.
  10. Taxes

    What's IRS Form 1040 For?

    Most U.S. taxpayers will be familiar with the 1040. By the end of filling it out, you'll know how much tax you owe, or what your refund is.
RELATED TERMS
  1. IRS Publication 501

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service that covers ...
  2. Single Filer

    The filing status used by a taxpayer who is unmarried and does ...
  3. Tax Return

    1. The tax form or forms used to file income taxes with the Internal ...
  4. Joint Return

    A U.S. income tax return filed on behalf of a married couple, ...
  5. Total Tax

    The composite total of all taxes that is owed by a taxpayer for ...
  6. IRS Publication 17

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service that outlines ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Racketeering

    A fraudulent service built to serve a problem that wouldn't otherwise exist without the influence of the enterprise offering ...
  2. Aggregate Demand

    The total amount of goods and services demanded in the economy at a given overall price level and in a given time period.
  3. Fixed Cost

    A cost that does not change with an increase or decrease in the amount of goods or services produced. Fixed costs are expenses ...
  4. Blue Chip

    A blue chip is a nationally recognized, well-established, and financially sound company.
  5. Payback Period

    The length of time required to recover the cost of an investment. The payback period of a given investment or project is ...
  6. Collateral Value

    The estimated fair market value of an asset that is being used as loan collateral. Collateral value is determined by appraisal ...
Trading Center