A new tax form could make filing returns easier on the eyes of older people.
The two-page form, known as 1040-SR, uses a bigger font than the standard 1040 form, has more spacing and is better at contrasting colors. Taxpayers who turn 65 on or before Jan. 1, 2020, can use the new form for their 2019 returns. For married couples filing jointly, only one of them needs to be 65 to use the form.
Most tax-preparation software can generate the larger-font form, but experts say it will be most useful for those who still file on paper.
“The IRS is collecting data to see how many individuals opt into using this form in an effort to gauge its popularity,” says Christina Taylor, head of tax operations for Credit Karma Tax.
The 1040-SR is similar to the 1040-EZ, a form the IRS discontinued and replaced with the redesigned 1040 form. It allows you to report Social Security benefits and distributions from qualified retirement plans or annuities.
The new form includes a standard deduction chart at the bottom of the first page. Seniors may also qualify for a bigger standard deduction. For those 65 or older and single, their standard deduction increases by an additional $1,650 over the deduction for those younger than 65 who file as individuals.
If you are married filing jointly and one of you is 65 or older, your standard deduction could rise by $1,300. If both of you are 65 or older, the deduction increases by $2,600.
Still, the number of Americans filing by paper is small, according to Kathy Pickering, chief tax officer at H&R Block.
“People probably aren’t going to the library to fill out paper forms,” Pickering says. “Our statistics say that 97% of taxpayers use some kind of filing assistance, either through tax software or going to a professional.”