Most people think that preparing tax returns is extremely complicated and difficult. It can be. But the tax returns for many taxpayers are very simple and easy to prepare. They're so easy that the IRS has created a simple one-page form to use: IRS Form 1040-EZ, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers with No Dependents. If you qualify to use Form 1040-EZ and can read and follow simple instructions, you can easily do your taxes yourself in a few minutes. (However, if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, your return will be more complicated and you may want to get help.)
You can use IRS Form 1040-EZ only if:
Millions of taxpayers meet these requirements.
Even if you can use Form 1040-EZ, you'll be better off filing Form 1040A or 1040 if:
When you use Form 1040-EZ, you must take the standard deduction instead of itemizing your personal deductions. Before doing this, make sure your total itemized deductions are less than the standard deduction. See the IRS website for current standard deduction amounts. Itemized deductions include:
You also cannot have any adjustments to income when you file Form 1040-EZ. These are expenses you can deduct without having to itemize. These include deductible IRA contributions, moving expenses, educator expenses, student loan interest, tuition and fees, and alimony paid.
If your adjusted gross income was $64,000 or less in 2016, you can use free tax software to prepare and file your return electronically--the IRS calls this "e-filing." Visit the IRS website for details.
If your income is over the threshold, the IRS offers an electronic version of Form 1040-EZ forms that also can be e-filed for free. Visit the IRS website for details.