Form 1040EZ: What It Was, Replacement by Form 1040

What Was Form 1040EZ: Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents?

IRS Form 1040EZ: Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers with No Dependents was the shortened version of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040. This form was for taxpayers with basic tax situations and offered a fast and easy way to file income taxes. 

The form was discontinued as of the 2018 tax year in favor of the redesigned Form 1040.

Key Takeaways

  • Form 1040EZ was a shortened version of Form 1040 for taxpayers with basic tax situations.
  • The form was discontinued as of the 2018 tax year and replaced with the redesigned Form 1040.
  • Form 1040EZ could only be used by people below age 65 with no dependents earning less than $100,000 per year.
  • 1040EZ was about one-fifth as long as the full 1040 form, with fewer deductions and tax credits.
  • Anyone who hasn't filed taxes for 2017 or earlier can still use the 1040EZ form for that year.

Eligibility for Form 1040EZ

To use the form, a taxpayer had to have taxable income of less than $100,000, less than $1,500 of interest income, and claim no dependents. Other requirements for filing the Form 1040EZ included:

  • The taxpayer and their spouse, if married filing jointly, had to be under age 65 at the end of the relevant filing period.
  • They could not be blind as of the end of the relevant filing period.
  • The filer could take no deductions for student loan interest, educator expenses, tuition and fees, or itemized deductions.
  • If the filer received interest income, they could not have been required to file Schedule B, didn’t have amounts in boxes 11, 12, or 13 of Form 1099-INT or boxes 6 and 10 of Form 1099-OID, and didn’t earn any interest as a nominee.
  • Tax credits for retirement savings, health coverage, and education were not allowed.
  • The tax filer could not have received any advance earned income credit (EIC), although they would have been allowed to claim the EIC when filing Form 1040EZ.
  • The filer could not be a debtor in any Chapter 11 bankruptcy case that was filed after October 16, 2005.
  • The filer, their spouse, if married filing jointly, or any of their dependents for which they claimed the personal exemption didn’t receive any advance payments of the premium tax credit offered for health coverage plans sold on the Marketplace.
  • The filer doesn’t owe any household employee taxes on wages paid to household employees.

Anyone who hasn't filed a tax return using Form 1040EZ for tax years 2017 and earlier can still do so by going to the IRS website.

For most individuals, the 1040EZ was the first tax form they ever completed. Consider a typical high-school student employed part-time. Provided they met the income qualifications, the 1040EZ will likely be the most straightforward and appropriate form to file. 

Limitations of Form 1040EZ

Form 1040EZ was ultimately scrapped due to the limitations of the form. The IRS opted for the building block approach of allowing taxpayers to more easily add allowances or credits as applicable to their return. In addition, Form 1040EZ had several other drawbacks.

First, the form could only be used by those below a certain amount of income and types of income. Anyone who had income from sources other than wages, salaries, tips, taxable scholarships, or fellowship grants could not use Form 1040EZ. This precluded any taxpayer who received foreign income (or filed using a foreign address) from using the form. In addition, any taxpayer hoping to claim a dependent could also not use Form 1040EZ.

Because of the simplistic nature of Form 1040EZ, taxpayers were not allowed to itemize their deductions nor were they able to take other types of deductions such as student loan interest deduction or deductions for IRA contributions. The form also failed to allow taxpayers to report their health coverage; those who use Form 1040EZ were required to separately report their health coverage status.

Form 1040EZ vs. Form 1040

Form 1040EZ had only a few credits or deductions available to taxpayers. Filers were able to include an earned income credit (EIC) and elect nontaxable combat pay.

For most tax years, Form 1040 had 80% more lines than form 1040EZ. One significant difference was that Form 1040 had fields to include information about dependents, while 1040EZ did not allow individuals to claim dependents. Similar to the standard form, the EZ version had sections to record wages, salaries and tips, and taxable interest under $1,500. The filer was also able to include unemployment compensation payments.


The first year that Form 1040EZ was introduced.

Form 1040EZ allowed filers to claim income from wages, tips, salaries, taxable grants or scholarships, the Alaska Permanent Fund, and unemployment compensation. Form 1040, though, had at least 16 income categories.

Categories available on the standard form included dividend payments, retirement account distributions, and farm and rental income. Form 1040 also allowed the entry of Social Security benefits, alimony, and other forms of income. This form also had a long list of deductions, ranging from education costs to healthcare savings plan contributions.

Is the 1040EZ Tax Form Still In Use?

The 1040EZ tax form was eliminated in 2018, and replaced with the redesigned Form 1040.

Is There a Form 1040EZ for 2022 or 2023?

No. The IRS no longer publishes Form 1040EZ, although it can still be used for tax years 2017 and earlier.

What Was the 1040EZ Tax Form Used for?

Form 1040EZ was used for taxpayers who fell into very basic income categories. For most years that 1040EZ was published, it could only be used by taxpayers below age 65, with no dependents and very little interest income. This form also had fewer tax credits and deductions than the full-length 1040 form, meaning that it was generally less appropriate for taxpayers with a higher income.

What Is the Difference Between IRS Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ?

Form 1040A was a simplified tax form for taxpayers with an income below $100,000 who did not exercise any incentive stock options throughout the year. All three were eliminated in the 2018 tax year, and replaced with a redesigned Form 1040.

The Bottom Line

The IRS previously allowed for taxpayers to select a specific Form 1040 to use based on the complexity of their tax return. The simplest form for the most straight-forward returns could use Form 1040EZ. However, the form was discontinued in 2018, and all taxpayers must use Form 1040 as part of their annual filing.

Article Sources
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  1. Internal Revenue Service. "All Taxpayers Will File Using 2018 Form 1040; Forms 1040-A and 1040-EZ No Longer Available."

  2. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 1040EZ: ARCHIVE, 2017," Page 6.

  3. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 1040EZ: ARCHIVE, 2017," Page 16.

  4. Internal Revenue Service. "1040 Form, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return: ARCHIVE, 2017."

  5. Internal Revenue Service. "1040EZ Form, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents: ARCHIVE, 2017."

  6. Internal Revenue Service. "1982 Instructions for Preparing Forms 1040EZ and 1040A."

  7. Internal Revenue Service. "1040A, Instructions: ARCHIVE, 2017," Page 13.

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