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previous pagePrevious Page: Instructions for Form 1040-EZ, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents - Parent of a Kidnapped Child
next pageNext Page: Instructions for Form 1040-EZ, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents - Filing Requirement Charts
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for these Instructions
taxmap/instr/i1040ez-006.htm#TXMP3de03a92

Section 2—Filing Requirements(p5)


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The following rules apply to all U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and resident aliens.
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Do You Have To File?(p5)


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Were you (or your spouse if filing a joint return) age 65 or older at the end of 2008? If you were born on January 1, 1944, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2008.
box Yes. Use Pub. 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, to find out if you must file a return. If you do, you must use Form 1040A or 1040.
box No. Use the Filing Requirement Charts beginning on page 6 to see if you must file a return.
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Even if you otherwise do not have to file a return, you should file one to get a refund of any federal income tax withheld. You also should file if you are eligible for the earned income credit or recovery rebate credit.
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Have you tried IRS e-file? It's the fastest way to get your refund and it's free if you are eligible. Visit www.irs.gov for details.
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Special rule for certain children under age 19 or full-time students.(p5)

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If certain conditions apply, you can elect to include on your return the income of a child who was under age 19 at the end of 2008 or was a full-time student under age 24 at the end of 2008. But you must use Form 1040 and Form 8814 to do so. If you make this election, your child does not have to file a return. For details, use TeleTax topic 553 (see page 27) or see Form 8814.
A child born on January 1, 1990, is considered to be age 19 at the end of 2008. Similarly, a child born on January 1, 1985, is considered to be age 24 at the end of 2008. Do not use Form 8814 for such a child.
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Resident aliens.(p5)

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These rules also apply if you were a resident alien. Also, you may qualify for certain tax treaty benefits. See Pub. 519 for details.
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Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens.(p5)

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These rules also apply if you were a nonresident alien or a dual-status alien and both of the following apply.
See Pub. 519 for details.
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Specific rules apply to determine if you are a resident alien, nonresident alien, or dual-status alien. Most nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens have different filing requirements and may have to file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ. Pub. 519 discusses these requirements and other information to help aliens comply with U.S. tax law, including tax treaty benefits, and special rules for students and scholars.
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When Should You File?(p5)


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File Form 1040EZ by April 15, 2009. If you file after this date, you may have to pay interest and penalties. See What if You Cannot File on Time? on page 22 for information on how to get more time to file. There is also information about interest and penalties.
If you were serving in, or in support of, the U.S. Armed Forces in a designated combat zone, qualified hazardous duty area, or a contingency operation, you can file later. See Pub. 3 for details.
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Checklist for Using Form 1040EZ(p5)


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You can use Form 1040EZ if all the items in this checklist apply.
box Your filing status is single or married filing jointly (see page 6). If you were a nonresident alien at any time in 2008, see Nonresident aliens on page 6.
box You do not claim any dependents.
box You do not claim any adjustments to income. Use TeleTax topics 451-453 and 455-458 (see page 27).
box You can claim only the earned income credit and the recovery rebate credit. Use TeleTax topics 601-602, 607-608, and 610-611 (see page 27).
box You (and your spouse if filing a joint return) were under age 65 and not blind at the end of 2008. If you were born on January 1, 1944, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2008 and cannot use Form 1040EZ.
box Your taxable income (line 6 of Form 1040EZ) is less than $100,000.
box You had only wages, salaries, tips, taxable scholarship or fellowship grants, unemployment compensation, or Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, and your taxable interest was not over $1,500.
box You did not receive any advance earned income credit payments.
box You do not owe any household employment taxes on wages you paid to a household employee. To find out who owes these taxes, use TeleTax topic 756 (see page 27).
box You are not a debtor in a chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed after October 16, 2005.
box You are not claiming the additional standard deduction for real estate taxes or disaster losses.
If you do not meet all of the requirements, you must use Form 1040A or 1040. Use TeleTax topic 352 (see page 27) to find out which form to use.
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Nonresident aliens.(p6)

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If you were a nonresident alien at any time in 2008, your filing status must be married filing jointly to use Form 1040EZ. If your filing status is not married filing jointly, you may have to use Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. Specific rules apply to determine if you were a nonresident or resident alien. See Pub. 519 for details, including the rules for students and scholars who are aliens.
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Should You Use Another Form?(p6)


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Even if you can use Form 1040EZ, it may benefit you to use Form 1040A or 1040 instead. For example, you can claim the head of household filing status (which usually results in a lower tax than single) only on Form 1040A or 1040. You can claim the retirement savings contributions credit (saver's credit) only on Form 1040A or 1040. Use TeleTax topic 610 (see page 27).
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Itemized deductions.(p6)

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You can itemize deductions only on Form 1040. You would benefit by itemizing if your itemized deductions total more than your standard deduction: $5,450 for most single people; $10,900 for most married people filing a joint return. Use TeleTax topic 501 (see page 27). But if someone can claim you (or your spouse if married) as a dependent, your standard deduction is the amount on line E of the worksheet on page 2 of Form 1040EZ.
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What Filing Status Can You Use?(p6)


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Single.(p6)

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Use this filing status if any of the following was true on December 31, 2008.
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Married filing jointly.(p6)

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Use this filing status if any of the following apply.
For federal tax purposes, a marriage means only a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife. A husband and wife filing jointly report their combined income and deduct their combined allowable expenses on one return. A husband and wife can file a joint return even if only one had income or if they did not live together all year. However, both persons must sign the return. Once you file a joint return, you cannot choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return.
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Joint and several tax liability.(p6)

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If you file a joint return, both you and your spouse are generally responsible for the tax and any interest or penalties due on the return. This means that if one spouse does not pay the tax due, the other may have to. However, see Innocent spouse relief on page 23.
previous pagePrevious Page: Instructions for Form 1040-EZ, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents - Parent of a Kidnapped Child
next pageNext Page: Instructions for Form 1040-EZ, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents - Filing Requirement Charts
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for these Instructions