There are certain restrictions on which Form you can use to file your income tax return. The simplest form to use is the Form 1040EZ, but not every taxpayer is able to use that form. If you do not qualify to file Form 1040EZ, you may be able to use Form 1040A, which is a little less involved than Form 1040. However, if you file Form 1040A rather than Form 1040, you will not be able to take advantage of some of the available credits and deductions.
You will only be able to file Form 1040A if you meet all of the following criteria: First of all, your only income must be from salaries, wages, tips, IRA distributions, pensions and annuities, taxable Social Security and railroad retirement benefits, taxable scholarship and fellowship grants, interest, ordinary dividends, capital gain distributions, jury duty pay, and unemployment compensation. Second, you can only use Form 1040A if the total of your taxable income is not more than $100,000 for the year. Third, the only adjustments to income you claim must be penalty on early withdrawal of savings, student loan interest deduction, IRA deduction, and jury duty pay given by you to your employer.
Fourth, you cannot itemize your deductions. Fifth, your taxes can only be from the following: tax table, alternative minimum tax, advance earned income credit payments received, qualified dividends and capital gains tax worksheet, recapture of an education credit, and Form 8615-Tax for Children Under Age 18 With Investment Income of More Than $1,700. The sixth requirement to be met is that you only claim these credits: the credit for child and dependent care expenses, the credit for the elderly and disabled, the child tax credit, the additional child tax credit, the education credits, the retirement savings contributions credit, and the earned income credit. Seventh, you must not have had an alternative minimum tax adjustment on stock acquired from exercising an incentive stock option.
If you do not meet all of the requirements, you will be required to file Form 1040. Form 1040 allows you to take any credits and deductions, and to report all types of income.
Form 1040A has some different schedules from those used with Form 1040. For example, interest and dividend income is reported on Schedule B on Form 1040, but is reported on Schedule 1 on Form 1040A. Another difference is for Child and Dependent Care Expenses. When filing Form 1040, Form 2441 is used, but when filing Form 1040A, Schedule 2 is required.
Form 1040A has the same due date as Form 1040, which is April 15, unless the fifteenth falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which case the due date would be the next business day.
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