File the Right Tax Form

Tax time is rife with thorny decisions, so why make life more complicated than it has to be? Use the appropriate federal income tax form for your situation. Though the IRS will probably mail the same type of tax form you filed last year, it doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you now, since your financial circumstances may have changed.

The options most individuals may choose from are forms 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040. You may download the form you want directly from the IRS website ( or call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have it mailed to you.

Form 1040EZ
Form 1040EZ is by far the simplest to complete. However, the conditions to use it are strict, and you may neither itemize deductions nor receive a student loan interest deduction and education credit.

You may use Form 1040EZ if all of the following are true:

  • Your taxable income is less than $100,000
  • 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
  • You have $1,500 or less of taxable interest income

The next easiest to fill out is Form1040A. While you still cannot itemize deductions, you can adjust your income to include IRA contributions, student loan interest deductions, unreimbursed educator expenses, and higher education tuition and fees. You may also claim a whole slew of credits.

You may use Form 1040A if your taxable income is less than $100,000 and you have capital gain distributions, but no other capital gains or losses

Form 1040
Your final option is Form1040. Because you may itemize deductions and claim the most tax credits and adjustments to income, it is more time-consuming to complete than the two others. It is appropriate if your taxable income is greater than $100,000 or you have self-employment income or earned income from the sale of property.

Using the correct form will not only save you money, it will save you time – making life a lot less taxing.