1040EZ Step by Step Guide

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Form 1040EZ has been eliminated as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) which was passed at the end of 2017 . Everyone will now need to file the new Form 1040 which acts more as a summary form with six supporting schedules. 

The guide below is only relevant for those who are filing late taxes for previous years.

Can Tax Forms be Easy?

Filing tax forms made you probably ask yourself more than once, "What have I ever done to deserve this?" We hear you. It’s happened to us, it happens to everybody. Now, our goal is to explain to you, step-by-little-step, which form you need to fill (here you can find a short startup guide on that) and how to file it in order to make it all a quick (and why not nice, for a change?) experience.


Personal Information

Any solid relationship starts with a very simple moment: the introduction. This is the time when Uncle Sam would like to know who you are. So simply fill in your personal data (name and address, including the state and the zip code, as well as your social security number, to the far right). If you file jointly with your spouse, include his or her data in this section too. Things haven’t gotten ugly yet with this form, so Uncle Sam thought this would be a good time to ask for your generosity. If you want to donate $3 for the presidential election campaign, this is the place you can do it, by ticking the appropriate boxes (one for you and one for your spouse).



This is the income declaration section. You have to tell the government how much money you made from salaries, wages and tips (on Line 1), interest (bank accounts, for example, on Line 2), unemployment payments and, just for Alaska residents, permanent fund dividends (on Line 3). 

Line 4 is just the sum of the first 3 lines and defines your AGI, or adjusted gross income. Line 5 is the place where you have to say if someone is financially responsible for you. If not, and you are single, you should enter $25,000. If you file together with your spouse, you should enter $32,000. The last thing to do in this section is to subtract Line 4 from Line 5. If the amount on Line 5 is greater than Line 4, just write zero. Otherwise, you just figured out your taxable income. Not bad for a few minutes’ work, right?


Taxes and Payments

On Line 7, enter the income tax withheld at the federal level – you can find it on Form(s) W-2 and 1099. Line 8 is where you insert any work pay credit, and Line 9 (if applicable), is to file your earned income credit. In short, this applies to people who make small amounts (you can even get this if you haven’t paid any income tax). Find out more about your earned income credit in the 1040EZ Instructions 2019 Booklet (page 13).

Go on to Line 9. Add up Lines 7 and 8a and you’ll get your total payments and credits. Next on to Line 10, you have to calculate your tax. To do that, open the 1040EZ Instructions 2019 Booklet and browse pages 27 to 35. Just take the value on Line 6 (taxable income) and find the respective tax in the Booklet.


Refunds and Liability

It’s very simple. If the amount on Line 9 is greater than the amount on Line 12, it means you paid too much tax and will get a refund. Calculate your refund and write it down on Line 13a. Take the opportunity to enter your bank account details on Line 13b, c, and d, to make sure you get that money as quickly as possible.

If, however, the amount on Line 12 is greater than the amount on Line 9, it means you owe Uncle Sam some money. Now you have to enter the respective amount on Line 13a. You can find more information on how to pay up, using the 1040EZ Instructions 2019 Booklet, on page 19.


The Final Steps

This part is where you allow somebody else (an accountant, for example), to discuss your return with the government. You have to fill in their name, phone number, and personal identification number. You’re not finished yet! Don’t forget to sign the document, date it, and include your occupation and phone number. If you filed jointly with your spouse, then he or she has to include the same information. If you worked on this with a tax preparer, the last field is the place where you say who that person is.

That’s all, folks! You just have to put the form into an envelope and send it on its way to the expecting government. Now was that easy or what?