Choose the Simplest Federal Tax Form for Your Needs

Courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service TT-2008-05

The three forms used for filing individual federal income tax returns 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. Using the simplest allowable form 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:

Your taxable income is below $100,000

Your filing status is Single or Married Filing Jointly
You (and spouse) are under age 65 and not blind
You are not claiming any dependents
Your interest income is $1,500 or less
1040A You may be able to use Form 1040A if:

Your taxable income is below $100,000

You have capital gain distributions
You claim certain tax credits
You 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:

Your taxable income is $100,000 or more

You claim itemized deductions
You are reporting self-employment income
You are reporting income from sale of property
Choosing the correct tax form could mean money in your pocket. Check your tax instructions carefully. Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, is a helpful guide to preparing your federal tax forms. It is available on the IRS Web site at or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Remember that for the genuine IRS Web site be sure to use .gov. Don’t be confused by internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov.

The address of the official IRS governmental Web site is

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  • IRS News :: Updates in tax laws – and Tax Tips from IRS and other Agencies
  • Form 1040EZ :: Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents

  • Form 1040A :: U.S. Individual Income Tax Return – The Short Form

  • Form 1040 :: U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
  • IRS Publication 17 :: Your Federal Income Tax