Even the the 1040EZ is the IRS’s simplest tax form, they still manage to squeeze out 46 pages in the 1040EZ instructions. Yes, no matter how simple you think your tax return is going to be, there are a gazillion ways to make it more complex. There are always exceptions to the rules, and special circumstances to be explained.
But don’t let that stop you from doing your own taxes…especially if you can get away with using the 1040EZ! Well we all know the IRS loves to put things in print, try to cover as many exceptions as they can, all the while making things so complicated we need specialists to interpret things for us.
But are the 1040EZ instructions really that bad? We sent out team out to delve into the depths of those 46 pages (found, by the way, on the IRS website in PDF version here). What did they discover? Lots.
What the 1040EZ Instructions Tell You
Well first of all there’s a nice handy checklist on page 5, which you can use to see whether you are eligible to use this simple form. Secondly, believe it or not there are people out there who make so little money that they don’t have to file federal income tax returns! The guidelines for knowing whether you have to file are found on page 6-7. If you are a spouse who works part time, for example, you may not have to file taxes if you make just a little teensy bit of money.
Line by line instructions for filling out the 1040E start on page 9 and continue to page 22. The rest, which is about half the booklet, is what to do once you’ve finished filling out the 1040EZ.
From page 30 to the end you can realistically ignore it since it’s how to call the IRS for help, privacy disclosures, and IRS plans for the future.
So really you’ve got about 20 useful pages in the 1040EZ Instructions. And then keep in mind that entire paragraphs spanning a quarter page are useless stuff like how to round up to the nearest dollar, or what to do if you are a domestic partner in Nevada, Washington or California (special situations). You can ignore most special situations since most won’t apply to you…what are the odds?
If yo don’t get any Social Security benefits you can skip half of page 12. Then there are almost six whole pages dedicated to the Earned Income Credit (EIC), which is you make over a certain very low amount of money annually, you won’t qualify for anyway.
The we’re at page 19 and it’s time to be done with filling out IRS form 1040Ez. See, those 46 pages are really nothing at all…all bark and no bite. The 1040EZ really is that simple and easy to fill out.