This post was updated in April 2018
If there’s one type of IRS form that most Americans are familiar with, it’s Form 1040, the US Individual Income Tax Return. The 1040 form allows you to calculate and report your “Adjusted Gross Income”, or AGI, for the tax year, including all sources of income, from wages to dividends to refunds. Although most Americans are familiar with this form, many are often confused as to which version of the IRS form 1040 for 2017 they should use when filing the tax return – is it the 1040EZ, 1040A, or the full Form 1040?
These three forms differ in their requirements for who can use them as well as what kinds of income adjustments they allow you to report.
Form 1040EZ is the shortest 1040 form, but also has the most restrictions on what information you can enter. Some of the main points to consider are that you must make less than $100,000 per year, you don’t claim dependents, you won’t claim any credits or deductions except for the Earned Income Credit, and your income doesn’t come from self-employment, alimony, dividends or capital gains.
Form 1040A is a more detailed form than 1040EZ. You still must make less than $100,000, but this form allows for some credits and deductions related to having dependent children, education costs, being elderly or disabled, or contributing to retirement savings.
Form 1040 is the full version and allows for any kind of credit or deduction, has no limit on income level, permits itemized deductions, and allows for attached schedules to detail more complex tax situations. It is the longest version and may allow you to get larger refunds if done correctly.
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