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Instructions for Form 1040-EZ

Section 2—Filing Requirements(p5)



These rules apply to all U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and resident aliens.

Do You Have To File?(p5)

Were you (or your spouse if filing a joint return) age 65 or older at the end of 2011? If you were born on January 1, 1947, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2011.
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 on page 7 to see if you must file a return. See the Tip below if you have earned income.
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.
Have you tried IRS e-file? It's the fastest way to get your refund and it's free if you are eligible. Visit for details.
Exception for certain children under age 19 or full-time students.(p5)
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 2011 or was a full-time student under age 24 at the end of 2011. To do so, use Forms 1040 and 8814. If you make this election, your child does not have to file a return. For details, use TeleTax topic 553 in Section 6, later or see Form 8814.
A child born on January 1, 1988, is considered to be age 24 at the end of 2011. Do not use Form 8814 for such a child.
Resident aliens.(p5)
These rules also apply if you were a resident alien. Also, you may qualify for certain tax treaty benefits. See Pub. 519 for details.
Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens.(p5)
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.
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.