U.S. citizens and resident aliens use one of three different forms for filing individual federal income tax returns: 1040EZ, 1040A, or 1040. If you’re wondering which form you should use, keep reading.
Form 1040EZ, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents, is the least complicated federal tax form. however, if you file Form 1040EZ, you should be aware that you can’t itemize deductions or claim any adjustments to income or tax credits other than the earned income credit. Use Form 1040EZ if:
- Your filing status is single or married filing jointly, you claim no dependents, and were under age 65 on January 1, 2018, and not blind at the end of 2017
- Your taxable income is less than $100,000 and is derived only from wages, salaries, tips, taxable scholarship and fellowship grants, unemployment compensation, or Alaska Permanent Fund dividends
- Your taxable interest is not over $1,500
- You don’t owe any household employment taxes on wages you paid to a household employee
Note: You can’t use Form 1040EZ to claim the Premium Tax Credit. You also can’t use this form if you received advance payments of this credit in 2017.
If you cannot use Form 1040EZ, you may be able to use Form 1040A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot itemize and you can only claim certain tax deductions such as the IRA deduction, the student loan interest deduction, and the educator expenses deduction. You can also use Form 1040A if:
- Your taxable income is below $100,000 and that income is derived only from the following:
- wages, salaries, tips,
- Interest or ordinary dividends,
- capital gain distributions,
- taxable scholarships and fellowship grants,
- pensions, annuities, IRAs,
- unemployment compensation,
- Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, and
- taxable social security or railroad retirement benefits
- The only tax credits you can claim are:
- the credit for child and dependent care expenses,
- the credit for the elderly or the disabled,
- education credits,
- the retirement savings contributions credit,
- the child tax credit,
- the additional child tax credit,
- the earned income credit, and/or the premium tax credit
- You do not have an alternative minimum tax adjustment on stock you acquired from the exercise of an incentive stock option.
- You have distributions from capital gains
You must use Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, if:
- Your taxable income is $100,000 or more.
- You have certain types of income, such as:
- business or farm self-employment income;
- unreported tips;
- dividends on insurance policies that exceed the total of all net premiums you paid for the contract;
- income received as a partner, a shareholder in an S corporation, or
- a beneficiary of an estate or trust
- You itemize deductions or claim certain tax credits or adjustments to income.
- You report self-employment income.
- You report income from sale of a property.
- You owe household employment taxes.
Nonresident aliens married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien may use any one of these three forms, based on your circumstances, but only if you elect to be treated as a resident alien when you file a joint return with your spouse. Nonresident aliens may have to file Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR.
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