Information for IRS Tax Form 1040EZ

Elizabeth Rosen
by Elizabeth Rosen, Contributor

IRS Tax Form 1040EZ is the shortest federal income tax form. It is designed for taxpayers whose filing status is “single” or “married filing jointly” with no dependents. The 1040EZ is less complex than Tax Form 1040 and Tax Form 1040A, so it generally takes less time to fill out and process. However, it may be more beneficial to use Form 1040 or Form 1040A, since those forms allow taxpayers to claim “head of household” status (which typically results in a lower tax than filing as “single”), dependents, and various credits and adjustments to income.

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A taxpayer may use IRS Tax Form 1040EZ if all of the following are true:

  • He or she has taxable income less than $100,000
  • He or she files as “single” or “married filing jointly”
  • He or she claims no dependents
  • He or she claims no adjustments to income
  • He or she claims only the following credits: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or federal telephone excise tax credit
  • He or she is under the age of 65
  • He or she is not blind
  • He or she has income from only the following sources: wages, salaries, tips, unemployment compensation, taxable scholarship or fellowship grants, or Alaska Permanent Funds dividends
  • He or she has taxable interest of $1,500 or less
  • He or she did not receive any advance EITC payments
  • He or she does not owe any household employment taxes (from wages paid to a household employee)
  • He or she does not owe any Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
  • He or she is not a debtor in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case (that was filed after October 16, 2005)

For taxpayers who do not meet the above requirements, Tax Form 1040 or Tax Form 1040A must be used. To claim the “single” filing status on Tax Form 1040EZ, the following must be true as of the last day of the applicable tax year (e.g., December 31, 2008 for a 2008 tax return):

  • You were never married
  • You are considered legally separated or divorced (according to state law), or
  • You were widowed before January 1st (of that tax year) and did not remarry during that tax year

To claim a “married filing jointly” status on Tax Form 1040EZ, the following must be true:

  • You were considered legally married as of the last day of the applicable tax year
  • Your spouse died during the tax year and you did not remarry during that year, or
  • You were considered legally married as of the last day of the tax year and your spouse died before your return was filed

For federal tax purposes, “marriage” is defined as a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife, and “spouse” is defined as a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.