Update: September 2019
I have converted my “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” Blog post into a 100-page 6″x9″ book, that published on Amazon in September 2019. See the Amazon link below.
I plan no further updates to this Blog, as I am incorporating all the knowledge in the three years of Blog posts, into further books to be published on Amazon in 2020 and beyond.
This Blog began in the Summer / Fall of 2017, with the goal of explaining to individual taxpayers the (3) tax forms the IRS uses to process an Individual tax return. Those are the forms 1040EZ, the 1040A and the long form 1040. As a result of the major tax legislation passed in December 2017, the IRS has decided to retire these (3) forms, starting with the upcoming 2018 tax year. Therefore most of this Blog, in its current state, relates to the 2016 / 2017 tax years, for which the IRS will continue to use the older forms 1040EZ, the 1040A and the long 1040.
The IRS, for the 2018 tax year will begin using the new single page 1040 form. See the explanation below, that describes how the IRS began releasing the draft forms on June 29th, 2018. This is the new tax form, onto which you will report your 2018 income and deductions you are generating this 2018 tax year. See this new Blog post that explains the new forms What Tax Form Should I Use? (2018 tax year) .
Some major Tax Law changes have been made, but at the same time, most of the information you report on the tax return is the same. What has dramatically changed, is the IRS will only be using one tax form. So taxpayers will have to learn where their expected tax information will now appear on the new single page 1040 form and its (6) new related Schedules.
Taxes can still be easy, even with the new IRS forms for the 2018 tax year. I will revise this Blog, so you too will be able to say “Taxes Are Easy” when you file next year’s taxes, with the new IRS forms.
Until then, the time you invest reading the posts in this Blog, will still teach you many aspects of Individual Taxes, that will be used for next year’s tax season, beginning Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019.
This entire Blog series is essentially a free, very high level tax course on Individual taxes. Like any complex subject matter, the more time you can invest to master the material, the greater you will benefit from the knowledge. If you read and study every Blog post, you will understand every line on your tax return. The US Tax Code is very large, complicated, and convoluted. The entire Tax Code, does not, affect each individual taxpayer. You just need to learn the Tax Law information, that affects your own Tax Story. This Blog series can help you achieve that line-by-line understanding of your tax return. Your own study time is the only element you need to invest, to master your Tax Story. I’ll help you achieve that understanding.
You can click my Bio link Bio for Michael D Meyer , to read about my qualifications as an IRS Enrolled Agent, and how and why I was attracted to Taxes. I also give advice in the second Blog post, What Tax Form Should I Use? (2016 & 2017 tax years) , about being truthful with the IRS in how you report your income and deductions. You can read those recommendations at the bottom of that Blog post.
The IRS actually just wants you to be compliant with your yearly obligation to file a tax return, which reports your self-declared tax obligation. You then will receive a refund, or owe a tax payment, based on the tax withholding / estimated payments you made during the year, and any additional Refundable Tax Credits you qualify for, that could increase your tax refund. This blog will help you stay compliant by filing a truthful and accurate tax return, that will maximize your refund, or minimize your tax due.
As always, just email me at Mike@TaxesAreEasy.com if you have any comments or questions. I will promptly respond to any emails within 24-hours.
The IRS on Friday, June 29th, 2018 – released the draft version of the new single page 1040 form, for the 2018 tax year. See that form attached, Form 1040 (2018) , as well as the (6) new supporting schedules. See those attached, Form 1040 (2018) New Schedules , that support the new single page 1040 form.
For the upcoming 2018 tax year, the IRS has eliminated the previously used form 1040EZ, the form 1040A, and the long form 1040. It has reduced the new 1040 form to fit onto one page, that can be folded in half and mailed. The lines the IRS eliminated from the previously used long form 1040, have been transferred to, and are now handled in the new (6) supporting schedules.
This new “one size fits all” single page 1040 will be used by all taxpayers. Of course all tax software will be updated to use and print this new single page 1040 form, with its new (6) supporting schedules.
Other existing schedules like the Schedule A, B, C, D, E, F and SE – will remain virtually the same after being updated for the new tax laws, and will be synchronized with the new (6) schedules that support the new single page 1040 form.
If you go to a tax professional to file your taxes, or use online or downloadable tax software, the tax interview process will remain the same. The new updated software will do the work to organize your tax information, flowing that tax information to the new single page 1040 form and the (6) new supporting schedules.
If you prepare your own taxes by hand, and mail them in, you will have to study the new instructions to properly understand how your typical tax information will now flow to the new single page 1040 form and its (6) new supporting schedules.
The IRS issued a press release, saying the draft single page form 1040 and (6) supporting schedules are now open for comment. The IRS will then approve and publish the final forms later in the year in the late Fall of 2018. See that press release attached, IRS Press Release (new form 1040) .
Taxes Are Easy – Let Me Show You Why!
That statement might sound preposterous to you, but taxes really are easy for me.
Taxes can be easy for you also – as you just need to acquire the specific knowledge to understand each line on your tax return. That is the educational purpose of this entire Blog – to teach and thus give you that line-by-line understanding of your tax return.
This first introductory page will explain why taxes are easy for me, and how they can become easy for you. If you invest an hour to read and study this introduction – you will understand the learning path that will teach you to master your own unique “Tax Story.”
First an introduction to myself as a tax professional, and why I am qualified to teach you about taxes.
I was a seasonal Tax Professional for 4-years at H&R Block in New York City from January 2013 through April 2017, and was given the privilege to complete well over 700 paid tax returns for H&R Block Clients during that tenure. Most of those 700 tax returns were completed with the Clients sitting at my desk, watching me input their tax data, as we discussed their own “Tax Story” situation for that year.
For the 2018 Tax Season that began on January 2nd, 2018, I assisted New York City taxpayers in the Upper West Side neighborhood with my own Tax Practice that I began in May of 2017. I use the software ProSeries® from the tax and accounting software company Intuit. ProSeries is the professional version of TurboTax. I have used TurboTax for my own personal tax returns, for over 30-years.
I am an Authorized IRS e-File Provider, so I can e-file tax returns I complete for my Clients. The IRS considers me an “Electronic Return Originator”, as I prepare and e-file completed tax returns with the Intuit ProSeries® software. Intuit then forwards these e-filed tax returns to the appropriate IRS and State tax departments. I then monitor the acceptance progress of these e-filed tax returns, and report that to my Clients. Click this link to see my name listed in the New York City ZIP code 10025 for e-file Providers E-File Businesses in ZIP code 10025. Scroll down through the M’s listed, and you will see my business name listed as “Michael D Meyer”. My full contact information is listed.
I also worked with Intuit, in my capacity as an IRS Enrolled Agent, as one of their remote “Credentialed Tax Experts” for their new TurboTaxLive® online product. I provided phone and interactive online video Tax Advice and Tax Return Review – for online TurboTax® Customers throughout the United States, and actually the World. I began this job on January 4th, 2018 and it ended on April 17th, 2018. I was able to help over 650 TurboTax customers with their tax issues.
Both of these tax jobs were performed at my home office at 306 W. 93rd Street in New York City.
I fully understand the Individual Tax Laws and the (3) IRS 1040-series forms that can be used to file a 2016 or 2017 Individual tax return. That is why taxes appear in my world as easy. Taxes can be easy for you too, because this Blog explains the (3) IRS 1040-series forms you may use to file an Individual tax return. Each year you will use one of these (3) forms to file your taxes, up through the 2017 tax year only.
This Blog is designed to teach you about Individual taxes – so you can understand every line on your tax return. You will learn the rules and requirements to file an IRS Individual 1040-series tax return – to pay the lowest legal tax liability due to the IRS or to receive the largest legal refund from the IRS. You will understand the Tax Laws that relate to your unique tax situation, or what I call your “Tax Story”.
The (3) forms the IRS publishes each year for taxpayers to complete their U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns are the 1040EZ, the 1040A, and the 1040. Your Tax Story is told, by using one of these (3) IRS Individual tax forms. The IRS publishes new versions of each of these (3) forms every January, to comply with the most current Tax Laws that will be in effect for that upcoming tax season that typically starts the first week each January. For the upcoming 2018 tax year, the IRS will only be using one form, the single-page 1040 version of the older long form 1040, used in previous tax years.
Click the blue underlined hyperlinks below to see each 1040-series form open as a PDF file in a new browser window, that you also can print or download. These many blog posts will teach you about these (3) 1040-series tax forms. Each year you will use one of them to file your tax return with the IRS, up through the 2017 tax year. A new single-page 1040 will replace these (3) forms for the upcoming 2018 tax year.
You can mail in your IRS Individual tax return, or use online or downloadable software to e-file that same IRS tax return. You can also pay a tax professional who will prepare and e-file your IRS tax return on your behalf. All of these filing methods use one of these (3) IRS Individual 1040-series tax forms.
All U.S. Citizens, U.S. Permanent Residents with Green Card status, and U.S. Resident Aliens who have lived in the U.S. the required time period per the Substantial Presence Test – use these (3) IRS Individual 1040-series tax forms. U.S. Nonresident Aliens and U.S. Dual Status Aliens must use the 1040NR Individual tax forms. The 1040NR Individual tax forms are not covered or explained in this Blog.
All tax software will automatically determine which of the (3) 1040-series Individual tax forms is most appropriate for your Tax Story. But that software is only as good as the person inputting the Tax Story data. Online or downloadable software is designed to “Interview” you, to guide you through the process of inputing your Tax Story data. What if you are not aware of an Adjustment, Credit or Deduction you are entitled to, that would reduce your tax liability, or increase your refund? Will the software’s “interview process” alert you to these tax savings tips? Having the knowledge beforehand to understand your Tax Story is the key. Then you can interact properly with the “tax software interview” to produce the tax returns you are entitled to – that will maximize your refund, or limit your tax liability.
Experienced tax professionals already know what your tax return should look like, before they enter your Tax Story data into the tax software. The tax professional most often will ask you many questions about your Tax Story to ensure you take every Adjustment, Deduction and Credit you are entitled to.
For example you might bring a W-2 form from your salary job, a bank statement listing the Interest and Dividends you earned, a form showing the Student Loan Interest you paid, and a statement for the distribution from your (HSA) Health Savings Account from your job.
The tax professional already at that point has a very good sense of what your tax return will look like – based on their experience with these forms that describe your Tax Story. They then manage the professional tax preparation software to maximize the results of your tax returns – to have you pay the least amount of tax or receive the greatest possible refund. Many tax professionals also will explain every line on your completed tax return, so you thoroughly understand your Tax Story for that current tax year.
This Blog will give you that same tax knowledge so you can understand every line on your Individual tax return. You will learn the basics about Filing Status, Dependents, Exemptions, Income, Adjustments, Deductions, Credits, Tax Liability, Tax Withholding, Payments and the Affordable Care Act. This will help you determine if you qualify for any of the tax saving features allowed by the Tax Laws.
Each blog post will have blue underlined hyperlinks so you can view and/or download the PDF version of the IRS tax form being discussed in the blog. These PDF files always open in a new browser window so you can switch between the lessons being learned in the blog post, and the actual IRS form being discussed. Often there will also be a hyperlink to the PDF file of the related IRS Instruction booklet. Your web browser will most often allow you to print or download these PDF files, for off-screen reference use. Tax professionals often print out hard copies of these IRS forms, instructions, and publications to compile into reference binders to build their Tax Law library.
The written content of this entire Blog series is substantiated by the Tax Laws described in the IRS forms, instructions and publications posted in these blog posts as PDF hyperlinks. I wrote the entire Blog series based on my own personal experience as a tax professional, with references to the Tax Laws as described in the most current IRS forms, instructions and publications.
The entire Blog is based on the Tax Laws relating to the 2016 and 2017 tax years, for Individual tax returns that were due on April 18th, 2017 and April 17th, 2018, respectively. The IRS forms, instructions, and publications listed in the Blog as PDF blue hyperlinks, also relate to the 2016 and 2017 tax years.
Update Note – Many of the PDF links in this Blog were for the 2016 tax year, when I wrote the Blog in the Summer of 2017. Some have been updated for the 2017 tax year, but most will no longer be updated. The IRS is redesigning its tax forms for the upcoming 2018 tax year, so many of the PDF’s will be obsolete for that upcoming 2018 tax year.
The IRS issues updates to all their forms in January of each year. In reality, the IRS forms, etc. do not change that much, year over year, unless there is a major change in the Tax Laws. The Cost of Living changes to the Standard Deduction, Personal Exemptions, and the Tax Tables – are the major changes year over year. The new “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” that went into effect on January 1st, 2018, will most certainly change many, if not most of the IRS forms – for the future 2018 tax year forms due on April 15, 2019. Time permitting, I will update the Blog for those new forms.
The Tax Law information referenced in this Blog is available to the public as downloadable PDF files from the IRS.gov website at IRS.gov/publications. Every tax form, instruction booklet, and publication referenced in this Blog as a blue underlined hyperlink can be downloaded from this IRS web site. The copyright ownership of these IRS downloadable PDF materials is held by the ©2018 Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service IRS.gov. They are free for the public to download and use. In my opinion, the IRS does a fabulous job keeping these tax forms, instructions and publications current. There are literally hundreds of forms, instructions and publications the IRS is required to update each year as the Tax Laws change.
Congress each year passes new tax-related legislation that the current President signs into law. The IRS then has to incorporate these new Tax Laws into its forms, instructions and publications. The IRS publishes this updated information on their web site, and works with the software vendors so they can update their tax software applications to comply with the new Tax Laws for the upcoming tax season.
I personally am an IRS Enrolled Agent and operate my own tax preparation and representation practice. Clients pay me to complete and e-file their tax returns, and to represent them when they have issues with the IRS or any of the States. Click the link below from the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), for an explanation of who Enrolled Agents are and how they participate in the tax world – as America’s Tax Experts. Click the link below that to see my firm’s listing on the NAEA’s Find a Tax Expert site. My entire contact information is shown on that Find a Tax Expert listing. Feel free to contact me by mail, cellphone, text or email. NAEA members are also held to a very high standard of Ethics and Professional Conduct. See that 10-page document in the 3rd blue hyperlink shown below.
An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a person who has earned the privilege of practicing (that is, representing taxpayers) before the Internal Revenue Service. Enrolled Agents, like Attorneys and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can practice before. Enrolled Agents are licensed by the IRS within the US Treasury Department, which is a Federal jurisdiction, allowing EAs to practice in all 50-States. Attorneys and CPAs are licensed by the individual States they practice in. Some States have additional requirements for EAs to practice and/or register in those individual States.
My business purpose is to make taxes easy for my Clients, so each person understands their Tax Story for that tax year. You might still choose to pay myself or another tax professional to complete your taxes, but I believe you should come away from that tax appointment completely understanding your Tax Story. I have a very good comprehension of these (3) IRS Individual 1040-series tax forms, so I can intelligently and efficiently input a Client’s Tax Story into the tax software to generate their tax return. Clients pay for that time-saving expertise, as often they do not want to invest their free time learning and mastering the tax software. Many Clients also do not want to invest the time required to learn the particular Tax Laws that affect their Tax Story. They entrust me with that role.
The desired result for everyone – is that you understand your Tax Story each year – by knowing the purpose and result of every line on your tax return. That is my job as a paid tax professional – to provide that line-by-line Tax Story certainty for my Clients.
The intention of this Blog is to provide you with that same line-by-line Tax Story understanding – so you can master the knowledge contained in each line of your tax return. You might not become your own tax expert to the point you want to file your taxes online or through the downloadable software, but you should understand your Tax Story each year. I will teach you to understand the basics of Individual taxes so your own unique Tax Story is clear to you. You will understand which of the (3) 1040-series tax forms you should use each year, and what Adjustments, Deductions and Credits you might qualify for, to reduce your tax liability, or increase your refund.
You might only use the Blog to research specific tax topics. Or you can complete the entire series of blog posts, to gain that total understanding of all (3) 1040-series Individual tax forms. Or you can ask me a question, and I’ll point you to the Blog post that best answers that question. The Blog is the resource you can use, to reach a comfort level with your own Tax Story.
Your personal study time is the only investment you need to make, to arrive at the point you understand every line on your tax return. Each blog post takes between a half hour and an hour to read and understand. The (3) 1040-series tax forms are explained with a series of blog posts related to each form.
- The form 1040EZ is explained with (2) blog posts. ( will be obsolete for the 2018 tax year )
- The form 1040A is explained with (11) blog posts. ( will be obsolete for the 2018 tax year )
- The form 1040 is explained with (approximately 35) blog posts. ( will be obsolete for the 2018 tax year )
If you can invest the time to complete all the Blog posts, you will acquire a very good knowledge of your Individual tax situation, by completing this free tax course. I wrote the Blog as a great, ongoing review of Individual taxes, that I also use as a reference. A wise man very long ago told me the best way to master a subject matter, is to write a “book” about it. This is my tax book on Individual taxes.
If you have a question about anything you learn just email the question to me at Mike@TaxesAreEasy.com.
The Blog can also be a tax information resource for you, to reinforce new information you learn at your tax appointment. For instance, let’s say you are new to self-employment – as you started a new home business selling hand-made fashion apparel through the Internet. I can explain and show you how to report your self-employment income on the Schedule C, but you might not remember every detail of my explanation – at the tax appointment. You could then refer to the self-employment blog posts, to review and reinforce what you just learned about self-employment and your tax return. This type of self-paced tax learning will always be available to you through these blog posts. This then helps to make the learning permanent – as you can always return to the blog to refresh your tax knowledge, as required.
You also can search by keywords, to locate a specific tax topic in a blog post. For instance, you might have heard that you can take a deduction if you pay interest on your student loans. Just type “Student Loans” into the search box, for a listing of blog posts that mention student loans. This is a quick way to answer specific tax questions – by reviewing the contents of previous blog posts.
I promise if you invest your time to read and study these Blog posts, you will gain a better understanding of your own Tax Story, and the current events and news about Individual taxes. You then might eventually discover for yourself that Taxes Are Easy! I’ll do my best to help you get to that level of tax understanding.
You can also type TaxesAreEasy.com into the web page browser on any of your mobile phone or tablet devices – so you can learn taxes anywhere you can connect to the Internet. These Blog posts and PDF hyperlinks read surprisingly well on these smaller devices.
Refer to the Recent Posts section for the (40) most recent posts. You can also use the Search … box above that to find a tax topic you are interested in, that is described in an earlier blog post no longer listed.
The next blog post answers the question What Tax Form Should I Use? Click that hyperlink below to see which of the (3) 1040-series IRS Individual tax forms is appropriate for your Tax Story. This again applies only to the 2016 and 2017 tax years, to learn about the forms 1040EZ, 1040A and the long 1040.
For the 2018 tax year, only the single-page 1040 form will be used. Click that link below to learn about the single-page 1040 form that the IRS will be using next year.
You can also view my Bio by clicking that link listed below. My photo is also in the Bio, and I explain how and why I was attracted to the world of taxes.
Feel free to send me an email at Mike@TaxesAreEasy.com
Blog Written Content ©2018 Michael D Meyer. All rights reserved.
PDF IRS forms, instructions & publications – ©2018 Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service IRS.gov
Legal Disclaimer: Nothing written or expressed in this Blog shall be construed as legal, accounting, or tax advice. This Blog is for informational purposes only, to inform Individuals about the IRS tax forms required to file an individual tax return, and the instructions that accompany such IRS tax forms.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any tax transaction or filing any tax form.