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Feature Articles: Taxes


Choose the simplest federal tax form for your needs

Reviewed and adapted with special permission from the IRS by: Brenda Procter, M.S., state specialist & instructor, Personal Financial Planning, University of Missouri Extension


There are three forms for filing individual federal income tax returns. They are Form 1040EZ, Form 1040A, and Form 1040. If you are filing a federal income tax return on paper, use the simplest form you can. This will reduce the chance of an error that may cost you money or delay the processing of your return.


1040EZ - You may qualify to use Form 1040EZ, the simplest form, if you:


  • have taxable income below $100,000
  • have a Single or Married Filing Jointly filing status
  • are under age 65 and not blind
  • are not claiming any dependents
  • have interest income of $1,500 or less

1040A - You may be able to use Form 1040A if you:


  • have taxable income below $100,000
  • have capital gain distributions
  • claim certain tax credits
  • claim deductions for IRA contributions, student loan interest, educator expenses or higher education tuition and fees

1040 - If you cannot use either a 1040EZ or 1040A, you probably need to use Form 1040. You must file form 1040 if you:


  • have taxable income of $100,000 or more
  • claim itemized deductions
  • are reporting self-employment income
  • are reporting income from sale of property

Choosing the correct tax form could mean money in your pocket. Check tax instructions carefully. Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, is a guide to preparing federal tax forms. It is available on the IRS Web site at or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).


Source: IRS TAX TIP 2008-5




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Last update: Monday, February 08, 2010