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

Form 1040EZ: Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers with No Dependents was the shortened version of the Internal Revenue Service's (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.

[Important: 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.]

Who Filed Form 1040EZ: Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers with No Dependents?

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.

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. 

Form 1040EZ and 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. 

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 or income. This form also had a long list of deductions, ranging from education costs to healthcare savings plan contributions. 

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 Form 1040.