Do You Qualify to Use Form 1040EZ? Here’s How to Tell

| December 20, 2012

who can use 1040 EZ tax form Tax time strikes fear in many of us. It’s a lot of work to compile receipts and decipher IRS forms for 2012. But many taxpayers will qualify to fill out the simplest 2012 federal tax form: Form 1040EZ. Using Form 1040EZ can save you a lot of time and hassle. So can using the DexKnows listings to find the right tax preparer or certified public accountant.

Form 1040EZ is a one-page federal tax form. The second page of the PDF file available at irs.gov contains instructions and a worksheet for determining your standard deduction if someone else can claim you as a dependent.

You Can Use It If …

You can use Form 1040EZ instead of the regular Form 1040 or Form 1040A if you meet all of the following qualifications:

  • Your filing status is “single” or “married filing jointly”: Your filing status is “single” if you’ve never been married, if you were legally separated according to state law during 2012, or if you were widowed before Jan. 1, 2012 and did not remarry in 2012. Your filing status is “married filing jointly” if you were married at the end of 2012 (even if you didn’t live with your spouse); your spouse died in 2012 and you did not remarry in 2012; or you were married in 2012 and your spouse died in 2013 before completing a 2012 federal tax return.
  • You do not claim any adjustments to income: Adjustments to income include contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements, or IRAs, alimony, and deductions for student loan interest and educator expenses, among others.
  • You claim only the earned income credit: This is a tax credit for individuals earning low to moderate incomes.
  • You are under age 65 and were not blind at the end of 2012: If you’re filing a joint return, your spouse must meet this qualification, as well.
  • Your taxable income is less than $100,000
  • Your income includes only wages, salaries, tips, taxable scholarship or fellowship grants, unemployment compensation or Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, and your taxable interest did not total more than $1,500
  • Any tips that you earned are included in boxes 5 and 7 of the Form W-2 you received from your employer (Here’s an example Form W-2.)
  • You do not owe household employment taxes on wages paid to a household employee
  • You are not a debtor in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed after Oct. 16, 2005

If You Don’t Qualify

If you don’t meet all of these qualifications, you must complete Form 1040A or Form 1040. The IRS website offers further information to help you determine which form you need to use.

Even if you qualify to use Form 1040EZ, you might benefit from filing Form 1040A or Form 1040 instead — for instance, if you can claim “head of household” status or claim the retirement savings contribution credit. And if you want to itemize deductions rather than taking the standard deduction, you must use Form 1040.

Remember: The most reliable way to be sure that you are completing your taxes correctly is to enlist the services of a tax preparer or certified public accountant. The best place to find such a service provider is at DexKnows. Your taxes are due April 15, 2013, so now’s the hour to book some time with a qualified CPA.

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Category: Accountants & Tax Preparers, Taxes

About the Author ()

Kate Johanns is an Austin, Texas-based writer and editor. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.