File Your Taxes 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 taxes 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 taxes.

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?File your taxes now with ease

file your taxes onlineWe’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?

Unfortunately not.
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 taxes using just the Form 1040?

We have very good news for you who file your taxes 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, [bctt tweet=”E-filing your tax return is still the best and easiest way to file your taxes” username=”HBSTaxTips”]. 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.

 

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Lisa R.
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Lisa R.

I heard a lot about this new form, and after seeing it in your post about the extra schedules and forms that may have to be attached, how is it easier? You can always count on the IRS to mess things up.

Brett W.
Guest
Brett W.

This is called tax simplification? I thought the idea was to make tax filing so easy that just about anyone could file their taxes without going to a professional tax preparer. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Kellie O.
Guest
Kellie O.

I’m glad I file my taxes with you on the 1040.com website. Using your interview system like before will prepare my return for me I’m sure. See you next year.

Rebecca M.
Guest
Rebecca M.

My personal tax return is really simple, just one W-2. So I shouldn’t have any problem doing it myself. I like what I see for now.

Larry
Guest
Larry

I’m not too sure that this simplified form is going to help me. I won’t be using any deductions, but I do have a few sources of income besides my W-2. I guess I’ll find out when I file my taxes.

Sam R.
Guest
Sam R.

I looked at the form and still wonder if the average taxpayer will be able to file their taxes without help from someone else. It didn’t look too complicated to me, but I guess time will tell. If the IRS really wants tax simplification, go for a low flat tax. That way, everyone pays the same rate.

Nicole S.
Guest
Nicole S.

I read a lot of negative comments here, but I suppose those people have tax situations that are probably too involved for this simple new form. For me, I think it will be good. A couple of W-2’s and dividends from mutual funds that I inherited from my grand father.

Cynthia K.
Guest
Cynthia K.

Looks okay to me since about 90% of the tax filers will be using the increased standard deduction anyway. It shouldn’t take more than a half hour to file your taxes now.

Justin R.
Guest
Justin R.

Most of the people e-file their returns so they couldn’t care less how short or how long the tax form is. If you’re using tax software to file your taxes, you’ll just answer the questions as before and your return is done. No big deal.

Bill T.
Guest
Bill T.

The first page looks like the same information, just placed different. You’ll use the second page to file your taxes and since many more will not be itemizing deductions, it should be simpler.

Richard Y.
Guest
Richard Y.

What always made me wonder is why people who have very simple returns, like only a W-2, take it to an accountant or buy over priced software. They could do it in a few minutes. I doubt if this form will cause them to file their taxes themselves.

Angela M.
Guest
Angela M.

The old forms had way too many lines that most people didn’t use, so this new form helps that. However, on page two where you will have to interact with the tax schedules, it is going to cause some people to omit things since they won’t be familiar with it.

Mike S.
Guest
Mike S.

This new form will make it very clear if you are able to file your taxes by yourself. I believe a lot of people will continue to take their returns to a tax preparer, even though they can do it.

Ellie P.
Guest
Ellie P.

Without seeing what the instructions and schedule 1 look like, I’m not sure what to make of this. It seems like maybe they shortened it primarily by calling a big chunk of it “schedule 1” rather than “The middle half of page 1”

Andy Kearns
Guest
Allan J.

Signing at the top rather than the bottom seems a bit weird. The most obvious change to me is the IRS no longer asks for your telephone number, even though they told us over and over that they would never use it.