Income tax return

Key areas to consider when preparing your income tax return.

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Income Tax Return

By the time April rolls around, everyone's eager to file their taxes the fastest way possible, so they can quickly receive their income tax return. Even though dealing with finances is stressful, it helps to carefully evaluate each step of the process carefully for the most accurate (and thus, fastest) return.

Determine your filing status

It's a simple designation, but determining your filing status says a lot about your eligibility for certain deductions and credits. You'll need to indicate both your citizen status and marital status. Widows and widowers will have to also indicate the spouse's year of death. This portion of the federal income tax return will also ask for the percentage of costs that each household member pays toward maintaining the home. Except in dire circumstances, it is usually more economical to file married-filing jointly.

Choose the best form

The 1040EZ is the best federal income tax return form for those who earn a taxable income less than $100,000, file as Single or Married Filing Jointly, are under 65, not blind, have no dependents, and have interest income of $1,500 or less.


1040A should be used if taxable income is below $100,000, but you have capital gain distributions, claim certain tax credits, claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and/or have student loan interest.


1040 should be used if taxable income is $100,000 or more, are claiming itemized deductions, are reporting self-employment income, and/or are reporting income from sale of property.

Explore potential tax credits

Earned Income Tax Credit-- Qualifying taxpayers must be between the ages of 25 and 65. If married, each spouse must have lived in the U.S. for over six months and have a valid Social Security card. Overall eligibility and amount are also determined by adjusted gross income, earned income and investment income.


Although federal tax returns are conveniently categorized in many areas, every taxpayer has a different story. Sometimes these details can make all the difference. Our tax professionals at H&R Block can help sort through these details for the best results.

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