Filing the Correct Tax Form

Filing the Correct Tax Form

The tax form you file with the IRS for the tax year 2009 is dependent on how many forms of income, expenses and tax credits you must include. The least complicated form is the 1040 EZ, the 1040A is slightly more complicated, and the most complicated form is the 1040.

You can file an IRS Form 1040EZ if you are single or married filing jointly. You must also meet the following requirements:

  • You income can only come from wages, interest and/or unemployment compensation, e.g., being self-employed or owning rental properties would disqualify you.
  • The only tax credit you are allowed to claim on this form is the earned income credit.
  • You cannot have received any advanced earned income credit payments.
  • You cannot use this form to list any itemized deductions.
  • You can only choose the standard deduction amount.
  • Your total taxable income must be less than $100,000.
  • Both you and your spouse must be under age 65 and not blind as of January 1, 2010.

In order to file IRS Form 1040A, the restrictions are slightly less stringent, but still designed to streamline the filing process toward the least complicated financial situations. To file a 1040A you can file with any filing status, but must meet the following requirements:

  • You cannot be self-employed. Period. (but you can have income from things other than wages, e.g, rental properties).
  • Your taxable income must be less than $100,000.
  • You cannot have paid any alimony during 2009.
  • You have no moving expenses.
  • You cannot itemize any deductions.
  • Your only deductions are student loan interest, an IRA deduction, educator expenses, and tuition and fees.
  • You can file with any filing status (married, single, head of household, etc.)

The IRS Form 1040 is intended for everyone else, those who do not meet the requirements for either a 1040EZ or a 1040A. The Form 1040 covers everything, all filing statuses, all deductions, all expenses, all income sources and all tax credits. Any possible item you can think of as affecting your income tax return will be reported on this form. You should use the Form 1040 if:

  • You are self-employed or have income sources that disqualify you from using the 1040EZ or the 1040A.
  • You can receive a greater income tax return by itemizing deductions
  • You have significant expenses to include on your tax return
  • You intend to claim tax credits not allowed by the 1040EZ or 1040A
  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or more.

For detailed information about which tax form you need to file, read IRS Publication 17.


Article written by: Letty G.

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