How To Choose the Right Tax Form

Still doing taxes the old fashioned way by filing a paper return?

The IRS reminds you that it no longer mails out paper tax packages, a step the agency took after continued growth in electronic filing, the availability of free options and as a way to reduce costs. If you’re e-filing, the software will choose the best form for you, but if you’re taking pencil to paper, make it as simple as possible by choosing the simplest tax form for your situation.

The quickest way to get forms and instructions is the IRS website at www.irs.gov. Taxpayers can also get them from a local IRS office, a participating community outlet like many libraries and post offices, or from the IRS’s automated forms line at 1-800-TAX-FORM.

 

Here are some general rules to consider when deciding which paper tax form to file.

Use the 1040EZ if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000
  • Your filing status is single or married filing jointly
  • You are not claiming any dependents
  • Your interest income is $1,500 or less

Use the 1040A if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000
  • You have capital gain distributions
  • You claim certain tax credits
  • You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest

 

How To Choose the Right Tax Form

If you cannot use the 1040EZ or the 1040A, you’ll probably need to file using the 1040. Among the reasons you must use the 1040 are:

  • 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

You can gain quick and easy access to IRS forms and instructions or find out more about e-file by visiting www.irs.gov. Tax products are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and often appear online well before they are available on paper. To view and download tax products, visit the IRS website and select Forms and Publications.

Form 1040EZ, Individual Income Tax Return Form 1040EZ
Form 1040A, Individual Income Tax Return Form 1040A
Form 1040, Individual Income Tax Return Form 1040
Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax
1040 Central

New Tax Guide Features Recovery Tax Breaks

Taxpayers can get the most out of new recovery tax breaks and get a jump on preparing their 2009 federal income tax returns by consulting a newly revised comprehensive tax guide now available.

pub17-full

Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, features details on taking advantage of new tax-saving opportunities, such as the making work pay credit for most workers, American opportunity credit for parents and college students, energy credits for homeowners going green, first-time homebuyer credit, sales or excise tax deduction for new car buyers, and the expanded child tax credit and earned income tax credit for low- and moderate-income workers. This useful 308-page guide also provides more than 6,000 interactive links to help taxpayers quickly get answers to their questions.

 

New Tax Guide Features Recovery Tax Breaks

Publication 17 has been published annually by the IRS for more than 65 years and has been available on the IRS Web site since 1996. As in prior years, this publication is packed with basic tax-filing information and tips on what income to report and how to report it, figuring capital gains and losses, claiming dependents, choosing the standard deduction versus itemizing deductions, and using IRAs to save for retirement.

Publication 17 – Your Federal Income Tax