RETIREMENT

A new 1040-SR is based on the regular Form 1040.

A new Form 1040 tailored to taxpayers 65 and older is making its debut.

In mid-July, the IRS released a draft form of the 1040-SR, “U.S. Tax Return for Seniors.”

The form is designed to be easy for seniors to use and highlights retirement income streams and other tax benefits for older taxpayers. People 65 and older have the option of using the final version of the form to file their 2019 tax returns.

The 1040-SR is based on the regular 1040, and the IRS says it uses all the same schedules, instructions and attachments. Older taxpayers who use tax software to file are unlikely to even notice a change.

But taxpayers who still file by paper will see a new form modified for aging eyes. The font is bigger to make the text easier to read. The shading in boxes on the regular 1040 has been removed to improve the contrast and increase legibility.

The IRS presented an overview of the new form, which was created by the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act, at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in National Harbor, Md., in early July.

The agency says it consulted AARP during the form’s development. “AARP supported the development of the simpler 1040-SR tax form since most seniors could not use the 1040-EZ due to their different sources of income,” said David Certner, AARP legislative counsel.

A key feature of the 1040-SR is the addition of a standard deduction chart, said Darren Hamilton, an official in the agency’s forms and publications division who presented information about the new form at the tax forum held in Maryland.

The form lists the standard deduction amounts that taxpayers age 65 and older qualify for, “so seniors don’t have to hunt for it,” Hamilton said.

The chart makes it simpler for seniors to take advantage of the higher standard deduction for which they are eligible. But seniors who still itemize deductions can also use the form.

The form has lines for specific retirement income streams, such as Social Security benefits and IRA distributions. But the IRS says you don’t have to be retired to use the form; older workers can use it, too.

Find the draft 1040-SR at IRS.gov/DraftForms. The form is subject to change until it is finalized later this year. Industry players, such as certified public accountants and enrolled tax agents, will get a chance to comment on it and suggest improvements.

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