Why would you want to?

Form 1040A is shorter and easier to fill out than the longer and more complex Form 1040. Form 1040A also covers more deductions and tax credits compared to the 1040EZ. For example, you can deduct IRA contributions and student loan interest on the 1040A short form, but cannot take the same deductions on the 1040EZ form.

The benefits of using Form 1040A are that the form is faster to prepare than the longer 1040, and faster also for the IRS to process. That means less tax preparation headaches for you.

You can file the short form 1040A if you meet the following conditions:

  • Your income is from:
    • Wages,
    • Interest and dividends,
    • Capital gain distributions,
    • Taxable grants and scholarships,
    • Pensions, annuities, and IRA distributions,
    • Unemployment compensation,
    • Social Security and railroad retirement benefits, and
    • Alaska Permanent Fund dividends.
  • You are claiming the following adjustments to income:
    • Classroom expenses
    • Deduction for IRA contributions
    • Student loan interest
    • College tuition and fees
  • You are claiming only the standard deduction.
  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or less. (Taxable income is calculated by subtracting your adjustments and standard deduction from your total income.)
  • You did not exercise any incentive stock options.
  • You are claiming only the following tax credits:
    • Child tax credit
    • Additional child tax credit
    • Hope and Lifetime Learning education credits
    • Earned income credit
    • Child and dependent care expenses
    • Credit for the elderly and disabled
    • Credit for retirement savings contributions

If you have something that isn’t listed above you probably need Form 1040. But check with your preparer on your specific situation. I use this form with my clients whenever I can. I don’t charge any less than the long form but it is a lot easier for everyone including your preparer and the IRS.

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