Because of the sweeping changes in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it’s especially important to get an early start on both your business and personal tax returns this year. Many commonly used tax forms will look very different from previous years, many others have been eliminated altogether, and there are a number of new schedules and supporting documents.
For example, over the summer the IRS released a draft version of the 2018 Form 1040. Obviously, most of us don’t file paper tax returns anymore, yet the paper Form 1040 serves as the basis for all the various software programs we use to file electronically. So, its changes give us some idea of what to expect this year.
The new Form 1040 is only about half the size of last year’s form—close to postcard size. In addition, the IRS has eliminated the Form 1040A and Form 1040EZ—all 150 million U.S. individual taxpayers will now use the basic Form 1040.
While the new Form 1040 eliminates about 50 lines of information from previous years’ forms, it introduces a half dozen new supporting schedules to gather that information and make calculations.
The IRS notes that it has not yet finalized the draft Form 1040, and it expects to make more changes before it’s done. In addition, many existing schedules are still being revised to reflect the new tax law.
Of course, the agency must also update its entire portfolio of business tax forms for corporations, partnerships, and various pass-through entities. Most of these will also see substantial revisions by the time they’re released.