The New 1040-SR: An Income Tax Return Designed Specifically for Seniors
With the ease of filing one’s taxes online through e-filing services or through a tax professional, it is not often that one sees a paper tax return anymore. However, paper tax returns are still used by many of the U.S. population. As such, the IRS has taken steps to create a more user-friendly tax return for senior citizens who are 65 years or older on or before Jan 1, 2020.
The new form comes with the passing of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and is designed to resemble the 1040-EZ, which was discontinued in 2018. However, unlike the 1040-EZ, there are no limitations on the amount or type of income that can be reported. Thus, social security and retirement income will not disqualify a qualifying taxpayer from filing a 1040-SR.
At only two pages, the form’s font size is larger and shading in the form’s boxes has been eliminated to improve readability. The form is available whether the qualifying taxpayer itemizes or takes the standard deduction. Further, the form includes a chart that assists the taxpayer in calculating his or her standard deduction.
Many commentators find this addition particularly helpful, since, prior to the 1040-SR, senior citizens would need to look up this information. Further, the addition of this information will help to ensure qualifying taxpayers take the additional standard deduction available to those 65 years or older. For qualifying taxpayers filing as single and head of household, the standard deduction is increased by $1,650. For qualifying married taxpayers, the standard deduction is increased by $1,300 for each spouse.
The new 1040-SR is expected to be available for the 2019 filing year, although the IRS hasn’t released a final version. You can view a draft of the new form here.