1040EZ
A Guide to IRS Form 1040EZ
Do you need a simple way to file your tax return? Well, Form 1040EZ could be just the thing to help you avoid a time-consuming and confusing filing session. However, not all taxpayers are eligible to use it. In this guide, we will answer questions like, “What is the 1040EZ definition?” and “What information is required on a 1040EZ form?” so that you can determine if it is the best choice for you this tax season. Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on Form 1040EZ or use the links below to skip to a particular section.

What is IRS Form 1040EZ?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers three different filing options for individual taxpayers: Form 1040, Form 1040A, and Form 1040EZ. Form 1040EZ, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers with No Dependents, is a shorter and simpler version of the 1040. This form provides individuals with no dependents and basic tax circumstances the opportunity to file their income taxes faster than ever. 

What is Form 1040EZ Used For?

Like Form 1040 and 1040A, IRS Form 1040EZ is used to file your annual tax return. However, there are a few key distinctions between the three that we will go over below.

Form 1040

Form 1040 is the most complex out of the three choices, but it also provides numerous options in order to claim deductions and credits. Although long-winded, a general rule of thumb is that the longer the tax form, the more room for tax breaks. Anyone can file this form, but some people must. A 1040 is required among self-employed taxpayers, those with an adjusted gross income of more than $100,000, and individuals who underreported tips.

Form 1040A

Form 1040A is a less complex version of the standard 1040 tax return. This form does not include many of the deductions or tax credits found in Form 1040, but it offers much more flexibility compared to the 1040EZ. One of the most significant differences between the 1040A and 1040 is that you will not be able to itemize deductions such as mortgage interest. The form is also quite beneficial for individuals who have children currently attending college, as it helps qualify students for the Simple Needs Test (SNT) so that they can receive more financial aid.

Form 1040EZ

Finally, Form 1040EZ is known by its acronym: the “easy.” It is the simplest option for individual taxpayers filing their federal returns, and it is also the fastest way to file. However, it is only intended for those with basic tax situations that require little information to determine whether money is owed. For most people, it is the first tax form they will ever fill out.  Whereas Form 1040 has 79 lines to fill out, the 1040EZ only has 14 and is composed of six sections to record wages, salaries, tips, income interest, and unemployment compensation. As mentioned earlier, the 1040 also has extensive options for deductions, such as education costs and health care saving plan contributions. Comparatively, the 1040EZ boasts a very small section devoted to credits, as it has a line for earned income credit (EIC) and a spot for nontaxable pay election. If you are unsure whether the 1040EZ is right for you, we will go over its uses and who should file more closely in the next section.

Who Should File a 1040EZ?

To use Form 1040EZ, taxpayers must meet a specific set of requirements. If you are considering using this form, here are a few conditions you must meet: 
  • File as single or married filing jointly
  • Be under the age of 65
  • Not be visually impaired
  • Not have dependents
  • Total taxable income should be under $100,000
  • Income should only come from wages, salaries, tips, unemployment, or taxable scholarships and fellowship grants
  • Tips earned must be listed in boxes 5 and 7 on the taxpayer’s W-2
  • Any taxable interest must be $1,500 or less
  • Not be in a state of bankruptcy
  • Cannot owe money for the employment of a household employee, such as a maid
These stipulations make the 1040EZ a good option for students and younger generations. However, the filer cannot claim any deductions, including student loan interest deductions, deductions for retirement contributions, or any other credit besides earned income. Young adults working part-time jobs are excellent candidates for the 1040EZ, provided they have no real estate assets, tax shelters, or foreign income.  If you meet the above criteria, filing a 1040EZ can be the right option for you. Keep in mind that although the 1040EZ might be simpler than the 1040, it could result in you losing out on some important credits and deductions. If you have filed your federal income tax with the 1040EZ in previous years, consider any life changes that might demand a switch over to the 1040 or 1040A. Some common examples include having a baby, buying real estate, or earning a significant amount of investment income. Try using our Community Tax Monitoring Service to review and manage your financial situation before deciding which form to file.

How Do I File a 1040EZ?

First, check the above requirements to confirm you are eligible to file your federal income taxes using Form 1040EZ. If your tax situation is basic and you qualify, you can grab your W-2 and move forward with the form. Make sure you have all W-2s from current and previous employers that you worked for this past tax year, as you will need them to submit Form 1040EZ to the IRS.   Note that if you have any documents besides the W-2 used to report income, you will need to file your tax return with Form 1040 instead. Visit the IRS’ information and instructions page to obtain a blank 1040EZ for the current tax year. You can also get a Form 1040EZ at a local library or post office. If you need a form from a prior tax year, you can search for it on the IRS website as well.  Once you have the form, you will fill the upper portion of the document with the primary taxpayer’s full name and Social Security number. This should be your full, legal name, as matched to the records of both the Social Security Administration and IRS taxpayer records. If you are married and filing jointly, make sure to include your spouse’s name as well in the second line. It does not matter which name is written first so long as you file the same way each year. On the third and fourth lines, you will write your address. Only include a P.O. box if you do not receive correspondence to your home. If you are currently living in a foreign country, fill out line 5 with the country’s name, province, and postal code. Next, you will be completing the Income section by stating the sum of your Form(s) W-2 in line 1. This part of the form is necessary to account for your gross wages, salaries, and tips.  Enter any taxable interest on line 2 and unemployment compensation and Alaska Permanent Fund dividends on line 3. Adding lines 1-3 will provide you with your adjusted gross income. If your income was over $1,500, you will not be able to use Form 1040EZ. Additionally, if either you or your spouse (if married and filing jointly) can be claimed as a dependent, you must check the appropriate box.   When you are finished with this portion of the form, you will move on to the next section, Payments, Credits, and Tax, and follow the instructions outlined by the IRS. This section will determine whether you will receive a refund or owe a tax penalty. In line 7, you will write the amount of federal income tax withheld according to your W-2. This information can be found on box 2 of your Form(s) W-2. Next, any EIC or nontaxable combat pay election will be added to lines 8a-b. If you are eligible for a refund, you will supply the IRS with your banking information. However, if you owe a tax penalty, you will need to pay your debt by the deadline. You can pay your tax debt online, by money order, or with cash. Once you include all the necessary signatures, you will either submit the form electronically or mail it to the proper address. 

How to File Form 1040EZ Electronically

You can file Form 1040EZ electronically just like a standard 1040 tax return. When you are ready, you can submit Form 1040EZ online via the IRS site yourself or have a tax professional help you with electronic filing. 

Where to Mail Form 1040EZ

Where you mail Form 1040EZ depends on a few factors, such as the state you live in and if you are including a payment. To find out the specific address, check out the IRS mailing options.  

How Can Community Tax Help Me with Form 1040EZ?

For many individuals, tax season can be an incredibly overwhelming time. To save yourself the hassle of filing Form 1040EZ, get a free consultation from one of our trusted Community Tax agents and learn how our services can make your tax season stress-free. If you are still unsure about what tax return form is right for you, do not hesitate to contact us. We will ensure you are using the correct form for your financial situation and make sure it is filled out correctly. 
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