Which Form Should I Use?
You must use one of three forms to file your return: Form 1040EZ, Form 1040A, or Form 1040. (But also see Does My Return Have To Be On Paper, later.)
Form 1040EZ is the simplest form to use.
You can use Form 1040EZ if all of the following apply.
- Your filing status is single or married filing jointly. If you were a nonresident alien at any time in 2000, your filing status must be married filing jointly.
- You (and your spouse if married filing a joint return) were under age 65 on January 1, 2001, and not blind at the end of 2000.
- You do not claim any dependents.
- Your taxable income is less than $50,000.
- Your income is only from wages, salaries, tips, unemployment compensation, Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, taxable scholarship and fellowship grants, qualified state tuition program earnings, and taxable interest of $400 or less.
- You did not receive any advance earned income credit (EIC) payments.
- You do not claim any adjustments to income, such as a deduction for IRA contributions or student loan interest.
- You do not claim any credits other than the earned income credit.
You must meet all of these requirements to use Form 1040EZ. If you do not, you must use Form 1040A or Form 1040.
Figuring tax. On Form 1040EZ, you can only use the tax table to figure your tax. You cannot use Form 1040EZ to report any other tax.
If you do not qualify to use Form 1040EZ, you may be able to use Form 1040A.You can use Form 1040A if all of the following apply.
- Your income is only from wages, salaries, tips, IRA distributions, pensions and annuities, taxable social security and railroad retirement benefits, taxable scholarship and fellowship grants, interest, ordinary dividends (including Alaska Permanent Fund dividends), capital gain distributions, qualified state tuition program earnings, and unemployment compensation.
- Your taxable income is less than $50,000.
- Your adjustments to income are for only the following items.
- The deduction for contributions to an IRA.
- The student loan interest deduction.
- Tax Table.
- Alternative minimum tax. (See chapter 31.)
- Advance earned income credit (EIC) payments, if you received any. (See chapter 37.)
- Recapture of an education credit.
- Form 8615. Tax for Children Under Age 14 Who Have Investment Income of More Than $1,400 .
- Capital Gain Tax Worksheet.
- The credit for child and dependent care expenses. (See chapter 33.)
- The credit for the elderly or the disabled. (See chapter 34.)
- The child tax credit. (See chapter 35.)
- The additional child tax credit. (See chapter 35.)
- The education credits. (See chapter 36.)
- The earned income credit. (See chapter 37.)
- The adoption credit. (See chapter 38.)
You must meet all of the above requirements to use Form 1040A. If you do not, you must use Form 1040.
If you receive a capital gain distribution that includes 28% rate gain, unrecaptured section 1250 gain, or section 1202 gain, you cannot use Form 1040A. You must use Form 1040.
If you cannot use Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A, you must use Form 1040. You can use Form 1040 to report all types of income, deductions, and credits, including those you cannot put on either Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A.
You may have received Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ in the mail because of the return you filed last
year. If your situation has changed this year, it may be to your advantage to file Form 1040 instead. You may pay less tax by filing Form 1040 because you can take itemized deductions, some adjustments to income, and credits you cannot take on Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ.You must use Form 1040 if any of the following apply.
- Your taxable income is $50,000 or more.
- You itemize your deductions.
- You received or paid interest on securities transferred between interest payment dates.
- You received nontaxable distributions required to be reported as capital gains.
- You received capital gain distributions that included 28% rate gain, unrecaptured section 1250 gain, or section 1202 gain.
- You have to complete Part III of Schedule B (Form 1040) because:
- You received a distribution from a foreign trust, or
- You had a bank, securities, or other financial account in a foreign country at any time during the year.
- Form 2555. Foreign Earned Income.
- Form 2555-EZ. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.
- Form 4563. Exclusion of Income for Bona Fide Residents of American Samoa.
- Form 4970. Tax on Accumulation Distribution of Trusts.
- Form 4972. Tax on Lump-Sum Distributions. (See chapter 11.)
- Form 5329. Additional Taxes Attributable to IRAs, Other Qualified Retirement Plans, Annuities, Modified Endowment Contracts, and MSAs.