What Is Form 1040EZ?

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.

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.

Understanding 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 his or her spouse, if married filing jointly, had to be under age 65 at the end of the relevant filing period
  • He or she 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, and or itemized deductions
  • If the filer received interest income, he or she 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 he or she 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, his or her spouse, if married filing jointly, or any of his or her dependents for which he or she 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

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. 

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 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 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.