U.S. taxpayers use Form 1040 to file their annual income tax returns. Before 2018, there were 3 versions: 1040, 1040-EZ, and 1040-A. However, the IRS updated the Form 1040 and simplified the 3 versions into 1. What Changes Were Made to Form 1040?

  • Forms 1040,1040A and 1040EZ have been replaced with one Form 1040 that all taxpayers will file.
  • Forms 1040A and 1040EZ are no longer available. Taxpayers who used one of these forms in the past will now file Form 1040.
  • Taxpayers can add the schedules they need to their tax return on Form 1040.
  • Many taxpayers only need to file Form 1040 and no schedules. Those with more complicated tax returns will need to complete one or more of the Form 1040 Schedules along with their Form 1040. 

Who Can Use Form 1040-EZ?

Although the 1040EZ is no longer available, you can still use Forms 1040-A or 1040-EZ to file taxes for years previous to 2018. If you need to file your 1040-EZ for years prior to 2018, follow these instructions. Step 1: Basic Information

Enter your name, address, and Social Security number. If you’re filing a joint return, enter your spouse’s name and Social Security number, too.

You and your spouse can each contribute $3 to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund by checking the boxes in the section called “Presidential Election Campaign.” The money from this fund is given to presidential candidates who agree to limit campaign spending and not accept private donations. What many taxpayers don’t realize is that the $3 is paid for by the government and does not affect your tax refund or liability.Step 2: Income

Unlike Form 1040A or the standard Form 1040, Form 1040EZ allows you to report only 4 sources of income: 

  • Wages, salaries, and tips
  • Taxable interest less than $1,500
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Alaska Permanent Fund dividends

If you have alimony, pensions, or any other sources of income not shown on Form 1040EZ, you’ll have to use Form 1040A or Form 1040.

Line 1

For line 1, enter your total amount of wages, salaries, and tips. You can find this amount in box 1 of your Form W-2 that you received from your employer. If you have more than one W-2, add the amounts together and enter the result on line 1.

Line 2

If you have any taxable interest, enter that amount on line 2. Refer to the Form 1099-INT or Form 1099-OID that you should have received.

Line 3

For line 3, enter the amount of unemployment compensation you acquired throughout the year. You can find this amount on your Form 1099-G. If you’re an Alaska resident, enter your Alaska Permanent Fund dividend on line 3. Look at your Form 1099-MISC to find the amount.

Line 4

To calculate your adjusted gross income (AGI), add lines 1, 2, and 3 together and put down the sum on line 4.

Line 5

For line 5, refer to the worksheet on page 2 of your Form 1040EZ if someone can claim you or your spouse as a dependent. The worksheet will tell you what amount you should put down on line 5. 

Otherwise, enter $12,200 if you’re a single filer or $24,400 if you’re a joint filer. This is the standard deduction. It’s important to note that these amounts are from the 2019 tax year and can change in the succeeding years.

Line 6

Line 6 is where you estimate your taxable income. Subtract line 5 from line 4 and record the result on line 6.Step 3: Payments, Credits, and Tax

Line 7

For line 7, enter the amount of federal income tax withheld, which is shown on your Form W-2 or Form 1099.

On Form 1040EZ, you can claim just one credit – Earned Income Credit (EIC) – and only if you’re eligible. If you qualify for other credits and want to claim them, you’ll have to fill out Form 1040A or Form 1040. Complete the worksheet in the Form 1040EZ instructions to see if you’re entitled to receive EIC. After finishing the worksheet, enter the amount of the credit on line 8a. If you’re ineligible, put down 0.

Line 9

Add lines 7 and 8a together to get your total payments and credits. Enter the result on line 9.

Line 10

Refer to the tax tables in the Form 1040EZ instructions. Find the amount of tax corresponding to your taxable income and filing status. Once you locate your tax, enter that amount on line 10.

Line 11

Enter 0 on line 11 if you and your spouse had full-year health care coverage. If not, you might get penalized and would have to enter the amount of your fine for line 11. For details, check the Form 1040EZ instructions.

Line 12

Finally, add lines 10 and 11 together and put down the result on line 12, which is your tax liability.Step 4: Refund or Owe Money

If line 9 is more than line 12, congratulations, you are entitled to a refund! Subtract line 12 from line 9 and enter the amount of your refund on line 13a. For a faster refund process, enter your bank account information so you can have your money sent via direct deposit.

However, if line 12 is more than line 9, you owe money to the IRS. To calculate the due amount, subtract line 9 from line 12 and put down the sum on line 14. For payment methods, check the 1040EZ instructions.Step 5: Sign and Date

In the correct boxes, sign your name, enter the date, and put down your occupation. If you’re filing jointly, have your spouse sign their name as well.

Also, you can designate a third party to speak with the IRS on your behalf, just add their name, phone number, and personal identification number. After that, you’re good to go!

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Written by Susan Young

Susan Young is a Tax Accountant and 1-800Accountant Specialist. She's worked with the company for over 5 years and takes pride in helping he...