What Was Form 1040-A?

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Form 1040-A was a tax document used by taxpayers to file simple income tax returns. It was taken out of use after 2018 and replaced by Forms 1040 and 1040-SR.

Key Takeaways

  • Form 1040-A was a simple tax form used by taxpayers to file income tax returns.
  • It was taken out of use for the tax year 2018 and replaced by Forms 1040 and 1040-SR.
  • Taxpayers who were previously eligible to use Form 1040-A should use Form 1040 to file their federal income tax returns.

What Was Form 1040-A?

Form 1040-A was a federal income tax return designed to simplify the filing process for certain taxpayers and to limit the mistakes that could come from completing more complex tax forms.

IRS Form 1040-A 2017 Page 1

Form 1040-A covered the most common types of income, deductions, and credits. It was only two pages and 51 lines long in its final iteration, not including personal information and the taxpayer's signature.

Form 1040-A was much faster and easier to prepare by hand than the longer Form 1040, but it covered more deductions and tax credits than Form 1040EZ, the other simplified return option that was available until 2018. For example, it was possible to deduct IRA contributions and student loan interest on the 1040-A, but not on the 1040EZ.

The last time Form 1040-A was used was in 2018, to file taxes for the 2017 tax year. Beginning in 2019, the IRS combined the many iterations of Form 1040, including 1040-A, into two forms: Form 1040 and 1040-SR.


Form 1040-A was eliminated because the 1040 itself became more simplified as part of the tax reform of 2018. The IRS condensed the 1040 down from 79 lines to 23 in an effort to fulfill promises that it would be as small as a postcard. In doing so, it relegated some of that information to supporting schedules that ask for information that feeds Form 1040. The 2022 version of the 1040 contains 38 lines.

Who Used Form 1040-A?

Form 1040-A was previously used by taxpayers who:

  • Had a taxable income of less than $100,000.
  • Didn't have income from their own farm or business.
  • Didn't have income from self-employment or alimony.
  • Didn't want to claim an alternative minimum tax adjustment on stock gained from exercising an incentive stock option.
  • Claimed the standard deduction instead of itemizing.
  • Could only claim credits for the elderly or the disabled, education, child and dependent care expenses, retirement savings contributions, child tax, or additional child tax, or the earned income credit.

Beginning in 2019, taxpayers were required to use the updated Form 1040 in place of Form 1040-A.

How to File Form 1040

You don't have to worry about which tax form to use if you use tax software to prepare your returns. The software will automatically select the appropriate form based on your income and deductions. It will be either Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

Most taxpayers will find that they have to file Form 1040. Only taxpayers over the age of 65 have the option to file Form 1040-SR.


Some taxpayers will also have to file one or more schedules with their returns. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Schedule 1: Additional Income and Adjustments to Income
  • Schedule 2: Additional Taxes
  • Schedule 3: Additional Credits and Payments
  • Schedule A: Itemized Deductions
  • Schedule B: Interest and Ordinary Dividends
  • Schedule C: Profit or Loss From Business

If you need a different schedule, the IRS lists them on its forms and publications webpage.2

The three numbered schedules detail your taxes, credits claimed, payments made, additional income not reported directly on Form 1040, and adjustments to income. The totals from these schedules are then transferred to the tax return.

You can most likely file only Form 1040 without any attached schedules if you were previously eligible to file Form 1040-A, and your income, credits, and deductions haven't changed.

If you're unsure which forms you should complete and file, you can work with a tax preparation specialist or contact the Internal Revenue Service help services.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why can't I find Form 1040-A online?

Form 1040-A is no longer in use. If you previously filed this form, you will now use the standard 1040 or 1040-SR if you are over the age of 65.

What's the difference between Forms 1040 and 1040-A?

The 1040-A was a simplified version of the 1040 for taxpayers who did not need to itemize deductions or report more complex situations, such as investment income, or changes in status.

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  1. IRS. "About Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return."

  2. IRS. "Form 1040A U.S. Individual Income Tax Return 2017."

  3. U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions. "FAFSA Simplification Act of 2019," Page 6.

  4. IRS. "2018 Form 1040."

  5. IRS. "2022 Form 1040."

  6. IRS. "1040A Instructions 2017," Page 13.

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