1. Form 1040-SR is designed with larger font size (i.e., “large print”) as well as a standard deduction chart, both of which make it easier for older Americans to read and use. Taxpayers who electronically file Form 1040-SR may notice the change when they print their return.

2. Both the 1040 and the 1040-SR use the same “building block” approach introduced last year that can be supplemented with additional Schedules 1, 2 and 3 as needed. Many taxpayers with basic tax situations can file Form 1040 or 1040-SR with no additional schedules.

3. Taxpayers born before January 2, 1955, have the option to file Form 1040-SR whether they are working, not working or retired. The form allows income reporting from other sources common to seniors such as investment income, Social Security and distributions from qualified retirement plans, annuities or similar deferred-payment arrangements.

4. Seniors can use Form 1040-SR this year to file their 2019 federal income tax return, which is due April 15, 2020. All lines and checkboxes on Form 1040-SR mirror the Form 1040 and both forms use all the same attached schedules and forms. The revised 2019 Instructions cover both Forms 1040 and 1040-SR.

5. Eligible taxpayers can use Form 1040-SR whether they plan to itemize or take the standard deduction. Taxpayers who itemize deductions can file Form 1040-SR and attach Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, when filing a paper return. For those taking the standard deduction, Form 1040-SR includes a chart listing the standard deduction amounts, making it easier to calculate. It also ensures seniors are aware of the increased standard deduction for taxpayers age 65 and older.

6. Married people filing a joint return can use the Form 1040-SR regardless of whether one or both spouses are age 65 or older or retired.

If you have any questions about Form 1040-SR, don’t hesitate to call.

Another New Design for Form 1040

The new 2019 Form 1040, which was redesigned last year to be “postcard-sized” has been revised yet again. As with last year’s design, the form gathers information about the taxpayer(s) and dependents. It is also the form you need to sign and date when filing your return. New for this year, taxpayers aged 65 and older may be able to use Form 1040-SR (see below for more information).

More complex tax situations will generally require using one or more of the supplemental schedules that were also new for 2018, but which for 2019, have been consolidated into three schedules (Schedules 1, 2, and 3). Of note, is that the 2018 Schedule 6, Foreign Address and Third Party Designee, has been incorporated into the Form 1040.

As in 2018, Forms 1040A and 1040EZ no longer exist. Instead, taxpayers should use Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.

Virtual Currency Questions

For the 2019 tax year, taxpayers who engaged in a transaction that involved virtual currency (e.g., Bitcoin and Ether) will need to file Schedule 1, Additional Income and Adjustments To Income. Taxpayers are reminded to maintain records that support any information provided on their tax returns such as records documenting receipts, sales, exchanges or other dispositions of virtual currency and the fair market value of the virtual currency.

Refunds

While more than nine out of 10 refunds are issued in less than 21 days, some tax returns require additional review and take longer to process than others. This may be necessary when a return has errors, is incomplete or is affected by identity theft or fraud.

Furthermore, tax law requires that the IRS hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) or Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) until mid-February – even the portion not associated with the EITC or ACTC. Even so, most of these types of refunds are expected to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by the first week of March as long as the taxpayer chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

As a reminder, once refunds are issued by the IRS there may be additional time for processing by financial institutions, which must accept and deposit the refunds to bank accounts and products. Typically, refunds and payments are not processed on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. Refund information will generally be available within 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an electronically filed return.

Tax Filing Deadline

For most taxpayers the filing deadline to submit 2019 tax returns is Wednesday, April 15, 2020; however, there’s no better time than right now to begin gathering information needed to prepare your tax return.

Questions?

If you have any questions about the new tax forms or need assistance preparing and filing your tax return, help is just a phone call away.

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