1040EZ Eligibility Info

About the 1040EZ

The 1040EZ is the simplest and shortest federal tax form. It’s the only form we do, and we believe we do it better than anyone else. This focus allows us to tailor our experience for you... asking only relevant questions and getting you done in minutes instead of hours. In tax year 2013 (the most recently released IRS statistics), over 23 million Americans filed a 1040EZ. That's about 1 in every 6 individual federal tax returns.

1040EZ eligibility criteria

If you make less than $100,000 a year (uh, yeah), don’t have any dependents, and don’t have a mortgage, then you’re probably eligible. Don’t worry — if you’re not eligible we’ll let you know, so you can get started now with confidence. If you know you're not eligible to file a 1040EZ, we recommend TaxAct. They handle just about any tax situation you can think of.

Here’s a detailed list of 1040EZ eligibility requirements.

If you claim one or more dependents, you can not use Form 1040EZ. A dependent is your qualifying child or qualifying relative. If you are not sure if your child or relative qualifies as a dependent, you've got options:

  • Read this article.
  • Use the wizard on the IRS website.

If you or your spouse were born on Jan 1, 1950, or earlier you can NOT file Form 1040EZ. Additionally, if either you or your spouse is blind and you would like to receive the related tax benefits, you can NOT file Form 1040EZ.

Taxable income is the sum of your wages, salaries, tips, taxable interest income, and unemployment income minus your standard deduction and personal exemption. If you are not sure of how much taxable income you made, begin your tax return with us. We'll do the math for you and tell you if you're eligible within minutes.

A 1099-MISC is like a W-2 for an independent contractor and will be provided by the entity you're contracting for. Not sure if you'll get one? Check the form your employer sent you or ask them if you'll be receiving an 1099-MISC or a W-2.

Investment income is income generated from dividends or capital gains collected upon the sale of a security or other assets (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.). Retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA, do NOT generate investment income.

If you received Form 1099-B (reporting capital gains or losses from the sale or stock or other investments) or Form 1099-DIV (reporting dividend income), you can't file a 1040EZ

Interest income is generated from checking, savings, and money market accounts. If you have more than $1,500 in taxable interest income - congrats, you must have found a great interest rate! However, you can't file form 1040EZ.

Any tip income you earned should be included in boxes 5 and 7 of your W-2. If you earned tip income that isn't included in boxes 5 and 7, you can't file form 1040EZ.

Additionally, if you received any "Allocated Tips" reported in Box 8 of your W-2, you can't use 1040EZ.

In other words, you won't itemize your tax deductions. Itemizing only helps your bottom line if your deductions total more than the standard deduction ($6,200 if single or $12,400 if married filing jointly). The most common "big ticket" deductions are:

  • Mortgage interest paid on your home
  • Property taxes paid on your home
  • Medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

Donating to charity, by itself, is usually not enough to make it beneficial to itemize. You would have to donate over $6,200 if single or $12,400 if married to benefit from itemizing. If you did that – good on ya! But you should file the "long form" 1040, not 1040EZ.

If you received taxable social security benefits, reported on form 1099-SSA, you can't file form 1040EZ. You'll need to file a 1040A or 1040, depending on your situation.

Form 1098-T reports tuition payments and related expenses. Form 1098-E reports interest paid on a student loan. If you received either of these, you may not be able to file a 1040EZ:

  • If your parents claim you as a dependent then you CAN file a 1040EZ.
  • If your parents can NOT claim you as a dependent and you will claim yourself, then you should NOT file the 1040EZ.

If you made it through the previous eligible criteria, odds are you can file a 1040EZ. Here are some uncommon situations. If any of them apply to you, then you can NOT file a 1040EZ.

  • You received taxable railroad retirement benefits
  • You received dependent care benefits
  • You received employer-provided adoption benefits
  • You are a debtor in a chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed after October 16, 2005
  • You're eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit ONLY because of your qualifying child. Form 1040EZ supports all other eligibilty methods for EIC, though, and we'll ask you all the right questions to see if you're eligible.
  • You don't owe any household employment taxes on wages you paid to a household employee

Keeping it simple

To provide the best possible user experience there are a few situations that Common Form doesn't support.

This is not common, but if you received income that was not reported on one of the forms above, you shouldn't file with us. Things like:

  • Taxable scholarships or fellowship grants NOT reported on a W-2. However, if it is reported on a W-2, you can file with us.
  • Household income NOT reported on a W-2. However, if you received $1,900 or more in household income, then your employer must send you a W-2, and you can file with us.
  • Alaska permanent fund dividends. Aren't you glad we left this kind of stuff out of our product?
  • Income earned while an inmate in a penal institution. Seriously, the tax code is full of this kind of stuff.

Believe it or not, you can make a $3 donation to the "presidential election campaign fund" on the paper version of form 1040EZ. Since there are other avenues for donating to presidential election campaigns and there is no tax benefit for you either way, we don't think you'll miss this.

IRS form 8888 allows you to divide your refund across 3 bank accounts or use it to buy U.S. savings bonds. There are lots of ways to transfer and spend your money, but we don't think tax software is where you want to be making those decisions.

If you didn't maintain health insurance for the entirety of 2014 you likely owe the IRS additional money. We'll support this scenario in the very near future.