File Your Tax Return on the New Form 1040 Post Card Size
The IRS New Post Card Size Form 1040
By now, most of you have either seen the new Form 1040, or have read a lot of comments on the Internet. Is it really the size of a post card? Can you file your tax return using just this new form?
Pretty much. (See the front and back below)
Some may. Probably not for most.
What is the Form 1040?
This form was first introduced over a hundred years ago as the primary summary form for individual tax returns. In the beginning, all Form 1040 returns were done by hand. Eventually when computers came upon the scene, a few outside vendors were preparing tax returns for accounting firms.
These returns, however, had to be mailed in by the taxpayer. Then in 1986, e-filing was introduced by the IRS, and this was the point that forever changed the method you could file your tax return.
Today, almost all taxpayers use some form of software to file their taxes. Tax returns are filed individually or through professional tax preparers. Many others take advantage of online tax filing sites such as ours at 1040.com.
As a result, most taxpayers don’t interact with the Form 1040 directly. This is probably a good thing because electronically filing tax returns is a more efficient and accurate method to file tax returns.
The post card size Form 1040 is still a two sided form, just shorter. The logical question that arises is, if the actual form itself isn’t used, why was there a need to shorten it?
We’ve been told that the form was shrunk in order to simplify the tax filing process. But, if as we say above that most individuals don’t directly interact with the form itself, the computer takes care of that. What difference does it make then? If the Form 1040 were made even longer than before, would it matter? The answer is probably not.
The next question is didn’t the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act simplify taxes enough to cut the Form 1040 in half?
We do know that the increased standard deduction will allow more individuals to use that and not have to file a Schedule A to claim itemized deductions. However, don’t just take the larger standard deduction automatically. Keep track of all of your deductions as before, and use the method that helps you the most.
The Form 1040 really didn’t change all that much. There are at least six schedules that may be used and several other tax forms that will tie back in.
Is the new tax form really that simple?
For some individuals who file a very basic return with no schedules or tax forms, it will be easier to read since there are now less lines on the form that were never used.
For most individuals who don’t file these basic returns, one or more of those six schedules will come into play, depending upon your individual tax situation. Adding schedules in this manner may very well increase the number of errors or omissions. Time will tell.
Does this mean you can file your tax return using just the Form 1040?
We have very good news for you who file your tax return online at our 1040.com site. Our simple interview style will lead you through the entire maze and you’ll see no difference. You’ll answer the questions as before and our intuitive software will prepare all of your required forms in the background.
After your return is completed for you, you’ll be asked to review the forms and schedules like before. Thanks to “tax simplification”, you may end up with a few extra schedules that were prepared for you.
For those of you who still want to file a paper return, doing your taxes might be a little easier and it may not. It’s possible that you may have a smaller return to review before you file. But then again, you may have one or more of those six schedules that need to be completed and carried back to the 1040 form on the appropriate line. You’ll need to be careful about math errors again.
Filing your taxes using a professional preparer will involve additional work for him due to the additional schedules. but not all that much. You’ll still receive your copy of the Form 1040 with all schedules attached for your file.
Just remember, E-filing your tax return is still the best and easiest way to file your tax return. It probably won’t change just because the Form 1040 did.
We encourage everyone to do a proforma of your 2018 tax return ASAP to be sure your current withholding is okay. If not, you will have some time to adjust. Try our Tax Calculator App to see just how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects you, at no charge.