Which 1040 Form Am I Supposed to File?

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The most important step in filing your taxes is making sure you’re filing the right forms. This article will give you the information you need to choose the right form for you.

Filing taxes is not an easy task, so you should take every opportunity to make your life as easy as possible. Wouldn’t you just love to escape the “big bad” - Form 1040, the most complex tax form there is? You might qualify to file Form 1040A (shorter) or even Form 1040EZ (the shortest), so make sure you read our guide in order to make the right choice. It could save you a lot of time and stress.

1040EZ (shortest)

You are one of the lucky ones if you fulfill all of the requirements below. That means you get to file the shortest version of the 1040; the 1040EZ.

• You did not earn more than a total of $100,000 in taxable income.

• You did not earn more than $1,500 in interest income.

• You only earned income from interest, wages and unemployment compensation.

• You are filing as either single or married, filing jointly.

• You and your husband or wife are both under 65 years of age.

• No adjustments have been or will be applied to your income.

• You are not claiming any deductions other than the standard deduction.

• You qualify for the Earned Income Credit and are claiming it.

• You are not filing to claim any further tax credits.

Download the official 2013 IRS 1040EZ Form and Instructions

1040A (short)

If your taxes are fairly straight forward, but you want to claim some of the more common credits, deductions or adjustments, you will probably be able to file a 1040A, which is still shorter than the 1040.

You can file a 1040A if you fulfill all of the following requirements.

• You did not earn more than a total of $100,000 in taxable income.

• You are of any age and are filing under any status.

• You earned income from interest, wages, capital gains, dividends, pension income, IRAs, Social Security, or unemployment compensation.

• You are eligible to claim adjustments to your income as a result of IRA contributions, penalties from early withdrawal of savings or student loan interest.

• You are eligible to claim any of the following credits: education credit, child and dependent care credit, child tax credit, earned income credit, retirement savings contributions credit, or credit for the elderly and disabled.

Keep in mind that if you want to itemize your deductions, you cannot use the 1040A. The majority of taxpayers are eligible to file a 1040A and it is a good place to get started, but check first. You may have some income that can only be declared on the regular 1040.

Download the official 2013 IRS 1040A Form and Instructions

1040 (long)

Everyone can file a 1040, if they can understand it. Regardless of how many types of income you have, how many deductions or credits you want to claim, the 1040 will definitely have the write line to fill that in.

You are required to file a 1040 long if:

• You earned more than $100,000.

• You have itemized deductions, e.g. charitable contributions or interest on your mortgage.

• You earned income from a business, S-corporation, partnership, trust, farm or rental.

• You earned wages outside of the U.S. (foreign wages), paid taxes outside of the U.S. (foreign taxes) or want to claim tax treaty benefits.

• You sold any bonds, mutual funds, property or stocks.

• You want to claim adjustments to your income resulting from tuition and fees, educator expenses, health savings accounts or moving expenses.

If you still aren’t completely sure which form you should use, be safe rather than sorry and just use the 1040 long form. You can’t go wrong with that.

Download the official 2013 IRS 1040 Form and Instructions