How to complete a 1040 EZ

By: Jenny Herrera

Determine if you're eligible to use the 1040 EZ

You can file the 1040EZ only if:

  • Your filing status is single or married filing jointly, both taxpayers are under 65 and not blind, and you do not claim any dependents other than yourselves.
  • Your total taxable income must be less than $100,000, and it must be from wages, salaries, and tips from your W-2, unemployment compensation, and/or taxable interest of $1,500 or less.
  • If you fall outside of this description, you aren't eligible to fill the 1040EZ out. You may need to fill a 1040 or 1040a instead

Gather your W-2 and 1099 forms, you will need them to fill out a 1040EZ

If you are employed, or have been at any point in the year, you'll need the W-2 that is sent by your employer. Be sure that you get a W-2 from each employer if you have been employed by other jobs. The forms are due by February 15.

Start filling the 1040EZ form in

  • You may now start filling out your information including your full name and social security number on the top line
  • On the second line, If you're married, you fill in your spouse’s full, legal name and Social Security number. If you're single leave that line blank
  • If you add your spouse, it means that you're married filing jointly.Only your name means you are filing single. You cannot file married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widower with the 1040EZ form.
  • On the third and fourth lines put your home street address. If you live in a foreign country, fill in the information on the 5th line. If you live in the United States, leave that line blank.

How to fill in lines the income section on the 1040EZ form

  • On line 1, enter your wages, salaries, and tips. This is when you look at your W-2 form and look at line 1.
  • On line 2, enter your taxable interest if you have any. If your total taxable interest is greater than $1,500, you can't use the form 1040EZ.
  • On line 3, enter the amount you received from unemployment benefits
  • On line 4, add lines 1, 2, and 3 together. That's your adjusted gross income

How to fill in the income section on the 1040EZ form (continued)

  • On line 5, enter your personal and standard deductions. If you are not claimed as a dependent, follow the instructions and write the dollar amount associated with your filing status as described on that line of the form.
  • If neither you nor your spouse (if applicable) can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, enter the appropriate amount stated in the shaded area on line 5. The amounts are listed on the form.
  • If you or your spouse can be claimed on someone else's taxes, complete the worksheet on the back of the form.This will tell you what to enter on line 5. If you or your spouse cannot be claimed by someone else, you do not have to fill out this form.
  • Subtract line 5 from line 4 and enter that amount on line 6. If line 5 is larger than line 4, enter 0 on line 6. This is your taxable income.

How to fill in the payments, credits, and tax section in your 1040EZ form

  • Look at your forms W2 and 1099. Find the box on each of these forms that is labeled federal income tax withheld and enter that amount on line 7
  • For line 8A, determine if you're eligible for earned income credit and enter that amount
  • For line 8B, Enter the amount of nontaxable combat pay from box 12 of your W-2
  • Add lines 7 and 8a to get total payments and credits and enter the result in line 9
  • On line 10, locate the tax table close to the end of the instructions for form 1040EZ. Locate your income range, then follow that line of numbers to the right until you reach the number directly below your filing status. That number is your tax liability.
  • For line 11, check to see if you had health care during the tax year. Check the box in the shaded portion and enter 0 in the unshaded portion or leave it blank if you and your spouse had minimum essential health care coverage for the entire year.
  • Add lines 10 and 11 together and enter the total on line 12. This is your total tax to pay

How to calculate your refund or amount you owe

  • If line 12 is larger than line 9, leave this section blank because you are not due a refund. If line 9 is larger than line 12, subtract line 12 from line 9 and enter that amount in line 13a.
  • If you want a refund sent to your bank account, fill out lines 13b, c, and d.
  • For line 14, you're going to calculate the amount you owe. If line 9 is larger than line 12, leave this section blank because you don't owe any additional taxes. However, if line 12 is larger than line 9, subtract line 9 from line 12 and enter it on line 14. This is the amount of any additional taxes you owe.
  • You have completed your form, all you need to do is sign your name and you're done!