Who Can File a Tax Form1040 EZ?

Of those people who are required to file income taxes annually, the possible forms, in order, are Form 1040, Form 1040 A, and Form 1040 EZ.  While Form 1040 EZ is the simplest and quickest to complete – and you can file this form for Free – it can only be used in very specific circumstances.

Free File

Free File

Are you eligible for Form 1040 EZ?  Here are the key considerations for filing Form 1040 EZ.

Filing Status Choices Are Limited

There are five possible filing statuses. If you file as single or married filing jointly, you are eligible to use Form 1040 EZ.  If you choose head of household, married filing separately, or are a qualifying widow with a dependent child, you’ll have to use either 1040 A or 1040.

Dependents are Not Allowed

 This is pretty simple. Do you have kids or a parent you take care of more than 50%? If so, since Form 1040 EZ does not allow you to claim any dependents, you’ll want to pick a different form.

No Adjustments to Income on Form 1040 EZ

No adjustments to income are permitted on 1040 EZ. Common adjustments to income include the IRA deduction, the moving expense deduction, and alimony paid. If you experienced any of those expenses, or any other adjustment to income, you’ll want to pick a different form besides Form 1040 EZ.

Credits – Only the Earned Income Tax Credit Is Permitted

You can’t take the child tax credit, the dependent care credit, the foreign tax credit, or any other tax credit except the earned income tax credit on Form 1040 EZ. So while you shouldn’t let your eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit prevent you from using Form 1040 EZ, you have to use a different form if you qualify for any other tax credit.

Age and Vision Requirements

You must be under age 65 and not be blind to use Form 1040 EZ.  It’s not actually blatant discrimination that prevents the elderly and those without sight from using Form 1040 EZ; it’s just that the form doesn’t provide for the ability to take the increased standard deductions those over age 65 and blind would otherwise receive.

No Six Figure Incomes on Form 1040 EZ

Only taxable incomes less than $100,00 can be processed using Form 1040 EZ. Any amount higher means you’re looking at filing Form 1040 A or Form 1040. It should be noted that if you otherwise qualify for Form 1040 EZ but for being over the income limit, your Form 1040 A or Form 1040 should still be relatively simple and painless to prepare.

No “Weird” Income – Except Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends

Form 1040 EZ is designed for straightforward tax situations.  So if you won the lottery, ran your own business, or received a pension or any government payment besides unemployment income or Alaska permanent fund dividends, you’re out of consideration for Form 1040 EZ. Taxable scholarships and fellowship grants are allowed as is interest income, but only if the latter is under $1,500.  Tips are only allowed if they are included in boxes 5 and 7 of Form W-2.

In taxes, nothing is more straightforward than filing Form 1040 EZ.  If you qualify, make your life simpler (and less expensive) by filing Form 1040 EZ.  Don’t worry about figuring out which form to use, TurboTax makes figuring out which form to use easy by taking your information entered and putting it on the correct forms.

Michael Rubin

Author of the bestseller Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck, and the upcoming The Savings Solution, Michael B. Rubin is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional. In addition to his experience providing sophisticated financial advice to affluent clients, Michael has been a key source of information for over a decade to countless others. He speaks passionately about and provides guidance on virtually all personal financial planning topics. Michael has appeared in various media, including radio and TV stations across the country, plus national media such as CNN Money.com, latimes.com, The Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney.com, Chicago Tribune, Financial Advisor Magazine, and Investment News. Prior to founding Total Candor LLC, Michael worked in the personal financial services practices of two of the former "Big Six" accounting firms. Subsequently working for several years as a new venture executive for Toys "R" Us, Inc., he made sure that he never actually grew up. He holds an undergraduate business degree from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Michael lives in New Hampshire with his wife and children.

Comments (23) Leave your comment

  1. Parker E. Jernigan said: on April 12,2012 at 5:15 pm
    I used it last year and it was great!

  2. Why can’t I upload the 1040EZ for as your Turbo Tax Deluxe software tells me to do.
    I can’t e-file a 1040EZ form with software that I spent 49.00 dollars for. Your software is either not designed correctly or misleading. It won’t let me e-file at all. Because I don’t meet the tax requirements of using the long form. No were on your site, do you have the download that your software indicated that you had to upload so I can file electronically.


  3. hello, me and my huspand wana filling our tax from 2011 to 2012 and my huspand work construction and we have two kids to filling!! so which form so we can file

  4. 2nd year in a row I have started out under EZ (free) edition only to get to the end and Turbo Tax tries to charge me $29.99 for a $3.00 tax refun on an EZ form. I am currently number 95 in line to talk with a rep. The frustration is really setting in.

  5. Thank you for providing this free Federal Tax Return. It’s great for fixed and low income people. It’s good advertising as well as good customer service/relations on your part, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone. I very much appreciate it.
    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  6. They advertise a free choice but there is no way to access it that I can see. I know I’ve used it before. Just another rip off I guess.

  7. need to do back taxs for 2008 and 2009 I was in sells they did not take out any taxs,
    Thank you

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