What Is the 2019 Form 1040?
The 2019 Form 1040 Explained
The IRS Form 1040 is a tax return for individual filers rather than estates or businesses. The 2019 version of the form is its second major restructuring in two years. The 2019 Form 1040 still replaces the 2017 Form 1040, as well as the 1040-EZ and 1040-A that have been eliminated from the tax code, but it undoes some of the other changes made in 2018.
The 2018 Form 1040 included numerous new schedules that had to be figured out and filed with the return by many taxpayers. The IRS touted it as a “simpler” version of the standard tax return, but that didn’t really turn out to be the case. The IRS went back to the drawing board a few months after tax season and undid many of the initial changes when it released another draft of the Form 1040 for tax year 2019.
What Is the 2019 Form 1040?
The Form 1040 for the 2019 tax year “is more than a tune-up but less than an overhaul," according to a September 3, 2019, blog post by Tax Policy Center Non-Resident Fellow Robert A. Weinberger. He wrote that the key changes from the 2018 version are the return of the standard deduction and income reporting and reconciliation to the first page of the income tax return.
Where to Get the 2019 Form 1040
All reputable tax preparation software includes the 2019 version of Form 1040, and you can also download and print a copy from the IRS website. The form is interactive, so you can complete it online as well, then print it out and mail in a paper return.
Make sure the 1040 you're downloading is for the correct tax year. The year appears in the center of the top of the first page.
How to Fill Out and Read Form 1040
The 2018 tax form slashed 56 lines from the previous form and ended up with only 23 lines. While its size was reduced to what might be compared to a postcard, the catch is that all the information that previously went on those missing 56 lines wasn’t actually eliminated. It was moved to six new, numbered schedules in addition to all the old lettered schedules that still remained for the form.
Those six numbered schedules have been pared down to three for use with the 2019 Form 1040.
Identifying information for spouses and dependents is back at the top of the first page, where it could be found for years before 2018. IRA distributions have their very own line on page 1 as well—they used to be lumped together with pensions and annuities.
Reporting and calculations of taxable income have been moved back to the bottom of the first page on the 2019 form, just where this information appeared back in 2017.
Tax credits and the calculation of any tax owed are now on page 2. Some of the most popular tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Credit, have been lifted from the 2018 numbered schedules and replaced to the second page of the 2019 Form 1040.
The question about whether you carried health insurance all year is gone from Form 1040 because the tax penalty for not doing so was eliminated as of 2019.
In fact, all the information from the 2018 Schedule 6 appears directly on the 2019 Form 1040—exactly where it used to show up before the 2018 changes. Information from the other two deleted schedules is consolidated into the three numbered schedules that still remain:
- Schedule 1: "Additional Income and Adjustments to Gross Income" was Schedule 1 in 2018, too, but it’s been renumbered. Some information from the 2018 Schedule 1 has been moved back to the first page of the 2019 Form 1040 return, such as the reporting of capital gains. Capital gains or losses appear on line 6 of the first page, as does the qualified business income deduction, which also used to be tucked away on Schedule 1. There's a place for it on line 10.
- Schedule 2: "Additional Taxes" includes all the same information that appeared on the 2018 Schedule 2, but it also includes information that used to be entered on Schedule 4.
- Schedule 3: "Additional Credits and Payments" includes all the same information that appeared on Schedule 3 in 2018, but the 2019 version includes information from the 2018 Schedule 5 as well.
Schedules 4, 5, and 6 from the 2018 tax return have been eliminated.
This version of Form 1040 is for use in 2020 when you file your 2019 tax return.
The 2019 Schedule 1 also asks for additional information about alimony payments because these are no longer deductible or reportable for divorces or marital settlement agreements entered into after Dec. 31, 2018. This information clarifies whether you can deduct or must report these payments effective January 2019.
The 2019 Form 1040 comes with two additional forms as well, although they don’t apply to all taxpayers: Form 8995-A and Form 8995, a simpler version of the “A” form for those who fall below certain income thresholds. This form is required for small-business owners who want to claim the qualified business income deduction that went into effect in 2018.
Can Form 1040 Be E-Filed?
Not only can the 2019 Form 1040 be e-filed, but the IRS strongly urges taxpayers to do so, particularly during the 2020 tax season. The agency announced in May 2020 that processing paper returns would be extremely limited for a while due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The IRS provides a list of e-filing options on its website.
Where to Mail Form 1040
Where you should mail a paper copy of Form 1040 if you really don't want to e-file depends on whether you're including a payment and your state of residence. The IRS offers a full list of addresses for each circumstance and each state on its website.
Requirements for Filing Form 1040
The filing deadline for the 2019 Form 1040 has also been changed due to the coronavirus. Normally April 15, it's been extended to July 15, 2020. This is an automatic extension—you don't have to take any extra steps to request it, but you can still file Form 4868 to request a further extension to October if you won't be ready to submit your 2019 Form 1040 by July 15.
Benefits of the 2019 Form 1040
One significant improvement over the 2018 version of the Form 1040 is that all those spaces for cents have been removed in another effort to simplify the process of preparing your tax return. You can round off your numbers to the nearest dollar without adding “00” after a decimal point.
- The 2019 Form 1040 is the standard tax return for use by individual taxpayers.
- It replaces a failed attempt to “simplify” the 2017 Form 1040 for tax year 2018, and this version was the second significant change to the tax return in two years.
- The 2019 Form 1040 has only three numbered schedules, down from six the year before.
- The usual April 15 deadline for filing Form 1040 has been extended to July 15, 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tax Policy Center. "Forms and Follies: IRS Midcourse Corrections of Tax Forms." Accessed Sept. 22, 2020.
IRS. "About Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return." Accessed Sept. 22, 2020.
IRS. "IRS Urges Taxpayers to Use Electronic Options; Outlines Online Assistance." Accessed Sept. 22, 2020.