New Streamlined 1040 Tax Form for 2019 Is Not So Simple

by Kathleen Hoffelder, NJCPA Content Editor – September 28, 2018
New Streamlined 1040 Tax Form for 2019 Is Not So Simple

The Internal Revenue Service’s decision to streamline the 1040 tax form for the 2019 tax filing season is leaving some taxpayers as well as CPAswith more work. The IRS simplified the form in June to effectively have one form replace the previous Form 1040, Form 1040A and Form 1040EZ. Taxpayers may now use the 1040 form alone or supplement it with additional schedules, if needed. 

Despite the use of electronic filing, some taxpayers still prefer a paper submission of their taxes. The IRS and the Treasury Department developed the new 1040 form to replicate a postcard, though it is larger than an actual postcard and would be included in an envelope when mailed to hide its contents. The amount of lines on the form has been reduced, and many lines have been shifted to the back. 

According to Edward K. Zollars, CPA, partner at Thomas, Zollars & Lynch, Ltd. and a member of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA), “for the average person who does not have a pass-through business, has W2 wages and doesn't have $14,000 in mortgage interest, and therefore won’t be itemizing anymore, or just has pension income... it probably has simplified things. They don’t have to fill out Schedule A for federal purposes." But other taxpayers, he notes, may still have to fill out the supplemental forms, and CPAs and other tax preparers will have to find where some of the new lines have moved. 

“Most CPAs are used to the 1040. There’s a bit of a learning curve due to the few additional attachments. Obviously, we have to learn a new layout," says Zollars. CPAs are used to just glancing and knowing where things should be, he adds, noting that even laser printers are designed to print out full-size pages, not the smaller-size form.

More Assistance for Seniors

Another 1040 form is in the development stage just for senior citizens. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 mandated that a simpler tax form for seniors, Form 1040-SR, be used for the 2019 tax year to be filed in April of 2020. Similar to the 1040EZ, the new form would offer an easier solution for seniors who have less-complicated filings. However, those with different kinds of investments would not be able to use the form. 

CPAs Can Help

CPAs can assist with tax filings and in determining which tax forms should be used. Taxpayers can use the NJCPA’s Find-A-CPA service to search for a CPA by location or specialty, such as tax, litigation or family services.