Checklist to File a 1040EZ

File a 1040ez Return

IMPORTANT - In 2019 the forms 1040ez, 1040A and 1040 were consolidated into a single tax form, you can read more on this change here.

Prior to this change, the Form 1040EZ was the shortest and most basic tax form a taxpayer can use to report their income to the IRS. Taxpayers that were new to the workforce and those with uncomplicated tax situations often qualified to use the 1040EZ. The form wasn't eligible to be used by everyone, you find a list of some of the eligibility requirements below:

Eligibility Requirements

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.

Wage Forms

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.

Q&A: What is the 1040ez for?

Form 1040ez is the simplest way to file your federal taxes. You do, however, need to meet certain eligibility requirements. Some of the major qualifications include an income of less than $100,000 and a filing status of either single or married filing jointly. You also can't claim dependents or tax credits other than the earned income credit.

If you qualify, the 1040ez is only one page long. The first section includes names, contact information and social security numbers. The income section, includes information on wages, salaries, taxable interest, and unemployment compensation. The payments, credits, and tax section goes over any withholdings and the earned income tax credit, if you qualify for it. Finally, all taxpayers filing a 1040ez must sign and date (even when filing electronically) the return.

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