Tax Preparer Offers Tips for Choosing Federal Form


Income taxes are due in six days. There’s still plenty of time to file if you haven’t already done so. Michelle Bachtel with the Knox H&R Block office says it’s important to choose the federal form that best meets your needs. A popular option is the 1040-EZ. However, it has limits.

“As long as you are under the age of 65, your income is below $100,000 and the income only comes from things like wages, salaries, tips and unemployment, with less than $1,500 in interest, you can use this form. But you cannot itemize deductions, claim dependents or be filing separate from your spouse. With this form your credits are limited, so just because you are eligible to file this form doesn’t mean you should, Bachtel said.

Of the three forms, she notes the 1040 is the most common. It’s also the longest and most complicated, but Bachtel says it’s a good option if you’re not sure which form to use.

The third option is the 1040-A. Bachtel says it can be used if your income is below $100,000 and from the same types of sources as a 1040-EZ.

“In addition you can have interest, dividends, capital gains, distributions, IRAs, pensions, and taxable Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits. But unlike the 1040-EZ, certain above- the-line adjustments may be claimed, including the educator expense deductions, IRA deductions, student loan interest, tuition and fees. You may not itemize deductions on a 1040-A, but you may take some of the more common credits, like education credits, credit for the elderly and credits relating to your children,” Bachtel said.

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