Four things taxpayers need to know about the new 1040 for 2018

July 02, 2018

Tax preparation, including DIY and professional interviews, will not change with the new 2018 Form 1040.

  • With the new 1040 for 2018, taxpayers will not decide whether to file a form 1040, a form 1040A or a form 1040EZ. Most will use a standard form 1040.
  • Whether they use software to prepare their own taxes, or seek assistance from a tax professional, taxpayers will not notice a difference in their tax preparation process. They still need to provide the same information they’ve provided in the past to determine if they’re eligible for any tax benefits: information about themselves, their household, their income and more.
  • Most DIY products and paid tax professionals gather this information in an interview related to the taxpayer’s life, not by working line-by-line through any IRS forms, schedules or worksheets.

The printed form 1040 is the end result, not the starting point, of tax preparation.

  • The printed tax return is the last step in the tax preparation experience. It is the final product of the interview process for both DIY software and tax professionals.
  • The DIY software and tax professional will collect the information the taxpayer provided and generate the appropriate printed form 1040 and related schedules.
  • The software or tax professional will include all the necessary forms and schedules, including up to six new schedules to supplement the new 1040 form, and submit electronically to the IRS.

Tax reform is a more significant change than this new tax form 1040.

  • While taxpayers, particularly the 97 percent who use professional assistance or software to prepare their returns, will not feel significant changes related to the new 1040, they will have significant questions about the changes associated with tax reform.
  • For example: will I lose my ability to deduct my state and local income taxes? Will I be eligible to claim the new expanded child tax credit? If my spouse is active duty military, will we be able to deduct our moving expenses? Do I qualify for the 20 percent deduction for my small business? Now that my child has turned 17 are there any tax benefits still available to me? What implications will this have for my state tax return?

Electronic filing remains the fastest, most secure way to file a 1040, even after tax reform.

  • Electronic filing, or e-file, is the fastest and most secure way to file a tax return and to receive a tax refund. Nearly 90 percent of taxpayers e-file their tax return instead of mailing it.
  • Taxpayers should continue to e-file their returns. Not only does e-file remain the fastest and most secure way to file, but it can help prevent errors. For example, the IRS may hold up processing mailed returns that omit required forms or schedules. This could delay the processing of the tax return, and any potential refund the taxpayer may be entitled to receive.
  • If a taxpayer must mail their return, for example if they’ve been the victim of tax identity theft, they should still seal the return in an envelope, deposit the return with the carrier and choose a delivery option that provides a receipt of delivery.
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