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Which Tax Form is Best for You?

IRS Tax Tip 2016-04, January 22, 2016                                                                 Español

This tax filing season, get things off to a good start. Make it easy on yourself and let the software you use to e-file select the right tax form for you. Filing electronically is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate return. The tax software asks questions at each step and minimizes errors. E-file also helps you get the tax credits and deductions that you are entitled to claim. Brand-name software is also free when you use IRS Free File on IRS.gov.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right forms:

You can generally use Form 1040EZ if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • Your filing status is single or married filing jointly;
  • You don’t claim dependents; and
  • Your interest income is $1,500 or less.

Note: You can’t use Form 1040EZ to claim the Premium Tax Credit. Nor can you use this form if you received advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2015.  

Form 1040A may be best for you if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • You have capital gain distributions;
  • You claim certain tax credits; and
  • You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest.

You must use the Form 1040 if:

  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or more;
  • You claim itemized deductions;
  • You report self-employment income; or
  • You report income from sale of a property.

Remember, if you e-file you don't need any paper forms to mail to the IRS. Go to IRS.gov and click on the ‘IRS e-file’ icon to check your options. Don’t forget to see if IRS Free File is right for you. If you need a paper form you can get it on IRS.gov/forms at any time.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

IRS YouTube Videos:

  • Welcome to Free File – English (Obsolete)
  • First Time Filing a Tax Return? – English | Spanish | ASL

IRS Podcast:

  • First Time Filing a Tax Return? – Spanish


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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 04-Jan-2017