Ch - Ch - Ch - Changes

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

February 5, 2020

One of the things some tax reformers had wanted was to make the Form 1040 “simpler,” smaller, to fit on a postcard of sorts.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, more commonly known as TCJA (tick-ja), mandated that the IRS simplify the forms.

Unfortunately, one of the side effects, because our tax laws are so complex, is that it necessitated new supplemental schedules that might have needed to be filed depending on the tax situation. Schedules 1-6 were introduced for the 2018 tax year. And some people had difficulty when looking at their 1040s. I will admit that I disliked the new forms and found them
complex. And I knew what I was looking for.

So, IRS, after receiving feedback, modified the tax forms again. Second year in a row. It does not quite comply with the requirements of TCJA that it fit on one page. But it is supposedly simpler. And for 2019, instead of having Schedules 1-6 as supplemental pages, we are down to Schedules
1-3. Bear in mind that we did not have those schedules for 2017 and prior years when the 1040 was a full two pages.

And to make things simpler, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 required that the IRS create and publish new form 1040-SR, which is somewhat like the old 1040-EZ. The SR stands for “senior.” It was requested by those that assist seniors in their tax returns and is intended primarily for
those who paper file their returns, whether self-prepared or through an assistance plan.

The print is bigger. The boxes to complete are also bigger.

The actual tax schedules are on the first page, so you don’t need to flip back and forth in the instructions.

It has most of the more common items for seniors on the form. (Although it does have the Additional Child Tax Credit referred to which, to me, seems unusual if you are a senior … unless perhaps you have grandchildren that you claim as a dependent).

Although it is intended for those over 65, it still asks (because it is required) for you to confirm you are over age 65.

And it is back to the two-page format that so many of us got to know and certainly those that have been filing tax forms for many years.

Use of the 1040-SR is optional. And if you are not age 65, not available to you.

If you itemize deductions (mortgage interest, charitable contributions, etc.), Form 1040-SR is not available to you. But with the increase in the standard deductions, particularly for seniors over 65 ($13,300 for Single, $26,600 for filing joint), many are no longer itemizing. So perhaps
it doesn’t matter.

Yes …. Simplification. What our tax laws are all about.

Confused? That’s why I am here.