There are three main types of tax forms individuals in the U.S. use to file their returns: Form 1040EZ, Form 1040A, and Form 1040. We have elected to dedicate this blog post to discussing the differences between them.
Let's start with Form1040EZ. Form 1040EZ is the most basic of the three. Unlike Form 1040A and Form 1040, Form 1040EZ is a single page and contains just 14 lines for data entry. How does an individual qualify to file this condensed form? For starters, taxable income must be less than $100,000. Married couples may use this form, but they cannot have any dependents. In addition, your interest income may not exceed $1,500 and there can be no other adjustments to income other than the Earned Income Credit.
Form 1040A is a more robust form that allows for additional schedules/forms (Schedule B for Interest and Dividends, Schedule 8812 for the Child Tax Credit, Form 2441 for Child Care Expenses, and Form 8864 for Education Credits) and is two pages in length with 51 lines for data entry. However, much like Form 1040EZ, taxable income cannot exceed $100,000 and you may not itemize deductions. In addition, Form 1040A may not be used if you have income from self-employment.
Form 1040 is the most complex and difficult tax form of the three, spanning two pages and containing 79 lines for data entry. Additional schedules/forms include: Schedule A for Itemized Deductions, Schedule C for Business Profit & Loss, Schedule D for Capital Gains and Losses, and Schedule E for Supplemental Income & Loss. You must use Form 1040 if taxable income exceeds $100,000, you elect to itemize deductions, or have income from self-employment.
PDF of Form 1040EZ: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040ez.pdf
PDF of Form 1040A: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040a.pdf
PDF of Form 1040: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040.pdf