The three forms used for filing individual federal income tax returns are
Form 1040EZ is the simplest form to fill out. You may be able to use Form 1040EZ
if you meet these conditions:
- Your filing status is single or married filing jointly,
- You claim no dependents,
- You, and your spouse if filing a joint return, were under 65 and not blind,
- You have only wages, salaries, tips, taxable scholarships, fellowships, grants, unemployment compensation, qualified state tuition program earnings, or Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, and $400 or less of taxable interest income,
- Your taxable income is less than $50,000,
- You did not receive any advance earned income credit payments from your employer,
- You do not owe any household employment taxes on wages you paid to a household employee; and
- You do not have a student loan interest deduction or an education credit.
If you file Form 1040EZ, you cannot itemize deductions or claim any adjustments to income or
tax credits (except the earned income credit.)
If you cannot use Form 1040EZ, you may be able to use Form 1040A if:
- Your income is only from wages, salaries, tips, taxable scholarships and fellowships, interest,
ordinary dividends, capital gains distributions, pensions, annuities, IRAs, unemployment compensation, and taxable social security or railroad
retirement benefits, qualified state tuition earnings and Alaska Permanent Fund dividends
- Your taxable income is less than $50,000; and
If you file Form 1040A, you cannot itemize deductions, and the only adjustment to income
you can claim is for IRA contributions and a student loan interest deduction.
The only credits you can claim are the credit for child and dependent care expenses,
the earned income credit, the adoption credit, the credit for the elderly or the disabled,
education tax credits, and the additional child tax credit.
Finally, you must use Form 1040 under certain circumstances, such as:
- Your taxable income is $50,000 or more,
- You have certain types of income such as unreported tips, certain nontaxable or self-employment earnings,
- You itemize deductions or claim certain tax credits or adjustments to income.
- A complete list of conditions outlining when Form 1040 must be used is in the instructions for Form 1040A; or
- You owe household employment taxes.
If you are a non-resident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and you elect to file
a joint return with your spouse, you may use any one of these three forms, based on your circumstances.
All other non-resident aliens who are required to file must use
or Form 1040NR-EZ.
For more information on resident
and non-resident aliens, see Topic 851.
You may be mailed the type of tax form you filed last year, but review your situation to see
if another form would be more advantageous for you. Forms and publications can be
downloaded from this site,
or ordered by calling 1-800-829-3676. Basic instructions on how to complete Form 1040
may be downloaded.
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