You’ve received all W-2’s, interest forms, and have gathered all other paperwork (receipts, etc.) needed to file your taxes this year.
Tax preparation is a confusing, often daunting task. Taxpayers shy away from filing their own taxes out of fear of an IRS audit; however, choosing which form can be fairly easy. That’s because IRS forms have evolved to be somewhat self-explanatory. In addition, many tax prep programs available today eliminate the hard work!
Choosing between 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040
Do you, as an individual or marital unit, make less than $100,000, including wages, interest, etc.? If the answer is “yes,” you’re going to probably use the 1040EZ or 1040A. The 1040EZ form is intended for a very limited group of individuals, so the odds are you’ll be using the 1040A. 1040EZ is meant for those under 65 as of 1/1/2013, who made less than $100,000, essentially from wages only (no dividends or interest allowed) and have no adjustments, deductions, credits, etc. That includes student loan interest deduction. If you own your own home, want to write a few things off, or have attended school in the tax year, it would be a safe bet you’ll need to use 1040A.
If you answered “no,” you’ll be using the 1040, regardless of any other situations you may have.
Keep in mind, the 1040 form (EZ, A, or general) may not be the only form required to file your taxes. On the 1040 form, you may be instructed to complete an additional form to include with your return. The best way to eliminate any confusion or uncertainty is to utilize the various programs and software available, such as TurboTax or HR Block. These online and offline software programs will do the difficult work for you and even choose which form(s) are best or needed, based on your answers to sets of questions. There are fees associated with using these filing programs. Filing your state taxes will be an additional cost as well, but the software provides you with a sound mind while simultaneously filing your taxes electronically.
Still confused? Although the IRS can be scary, they provide information for taxpayers via http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/1040-Central. If you want to talk to a real person, find your local office at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-My-Local-Office-in-Louisiana.
After all, your tax dollars pay them to help you!