I'm trying to decide whether to be frustrated with the IRS for constantly changing tax laws and tax forms or grateful to them for always providing new material to blog about. Just last year I did a whole post on the new 1040 Form with its attendant schedules. That didn't seem too unreasonable given that there were a ton of new tax reforms to deal with.
However, that's not really the case for the 2019 tax year and here we are with yet another 1040 Form. The idea last year was to put the 1040 “on a postcard”, so they pushed all they could from the 1040 onto 6 different schedules. In retrospect, they realized that was just dumb, so they've consolidated those 6 schedules into 3 schedules and moved some of the material back onto the 1040 itself.
It's no longer postcard size, but the truth is that it really isn't the form that makes things confusing, it's the tax laws. The forms just reflect the laws. If you can't remember what the forms looked like before, check out last year's post on the 2018 1040 Form.
The New 1040 Form
Let's start with the front page of the 2019 1040 Form.
The big difference between this year and last year is that last year's page 1 didn't have any of lines 1-11 on it. Those were on page 2. So they've been moved to page 1. Line 7 and 8 are a clarification of how the form read the prior year, a worthy change in my opinion. But all that stuff is pretty standard and has been on the 1040 for a long time. Let's go to Page 2.
This should all look pretty familiar too. Lines 13b and 14 are new and 15 is modified, but that's just where the new Schedule 3 and the new Schedule 2 plug in. Same with line 18d. See that line up there about a “third-party designee?” That's the entire old Schedule 6. Let's look at the three schedules one by one.
Schedule 1 Additional Income
The only real change here is they got rid of the “reserved lines” (1-9, 20, 34-35) and renumbered everything. Otherwise, pretty much the same as last year. It plugs into lines 7a and 8a on the 1040.
Schedule 2 Additional Taxes
This is MUCH longer than Schedule 2 used to be, but in reality, they just combined Schedules 2 and 4 from last year. They plug into the 1040 on lines 12b and 15 respectively. A nice simplification.
Schedule 3 Credits and Payments
Just like they added Schedule 4 to Schedule 2, they've added Schedule 5 to Schedule 3.
Overall, I was just fine having it all on one form, the 1040, so I'm a fan of going from six schedules to one. The 1040 is no longer postcard size (it was a big postcard anyway) but what does it matter if most of us had to send in 3 or 4 other post cards too? I mean, my tax return is measured in pounds or inches, not pages. I really don't care if one of the pages is a little shorter. We're never going to have a short tax return until we have a short tax code.
What do you think? Do you like the changes to the 1040 for tax year 2019? What changes would you like to see? Comment below!