Checklist to File a 1040EZ
Form 1040EZ is the shortest and most basic tax form a taxpayer can use to report their income to the IRS. Tax payers that are new to the workforce and those with uncomplicated tax situations will often qualify to use the 1040EZ. The form isn't eligible to be used by everyone, so it is important that you know whether you qualify to use it before taking the time to fill it out. See the checklist of eligibility requirements below:
To be eligible to file a Form 1040EZ:
- Must be U.S. citizen or have legal resident status.
- Tax filers must be age 65 or younger.
- You can only file single or married filing jointly. If you have any other status, such as head of household or widower, you cannot use the Form 1040EZ.
- You can only take the standard deduction. The standard deduction is a combination of the deduction itself and the personal exemption, which is a preset amount that reduces your taxable income.
- The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the only tax credit you can claim.
- Your total income for single and married filing jointly must be under $100,000.
- Your income from interest must be less than $1,500.
If you qualify for any other tax deductions or credits, you might consider using a different 1040 form to take advantage of the full tax benefits you're allowed.
Your wages can include pay you receive from a job, earnings as a contractor, unemployment payments, interest/dividends and more. When filling, make sure to have your W-2s, 1099-INT (the form on which any interest you earned is reported) and 1099-G (shows unemployment payments) handy. College grants and scholarships also count as wages, so students should also have this information available.
Your Taxable Income
Calculating your taxable income is relatively easy when filing a 1040EZ. Unlike with other 1040 forms, you can't adjust your total income with any other deductions, your taxable income is your adjusted gross income (AGI) minus the standard deduction and personal exemption. The IRS uses that total to determine the amount of tax you owe, which may already have been deducted by your employer. While most filers who use a 1040ez form receive a refund, some may owe if less tax was withheld from their income during the year.
Earned Income Tax Credit
The EITC is the only tax credit you can claim on the 1040EZ. If you're using our tax preparation software, we will help calculate how much credit you can claim automatically. You can also use the EITC calculator posted on the IRS website to determine out how much of the credit you can claim. This credit can lower the amount of tax you may owe dollar for dollar and may result in a refund.
Verify Your Information
In order to be accepted electronically, a 1040EZ must contain the name and social security number as it is on record with the IRS. If you're expecting a refund by direct deposit, always verify that you've included the correct routing and bank account number to avoid any delays or at worst case, loss of refund. 1040EZ returns must still be signed, either by hand or electronically (using your prior year AGI) for the IRS to accept it.