TAS Tax Tip: New 2018 Form 1040 Changes and Helpful Hints for Completion

January 31, 2019

It’s filing season! The IRS’s new Form 1040 for 2018, its corresponding Schedules 1-6, and instructions are now available.

Taxpayer Advocate Service’s Tax Reform Changes website contains updated references to the new 2018 form and schedules now as well.

There’s no denying this year’s new Form 1040 and schedules are very different than the tax form and schedules you are used to seeing and completing in the past. Of course, electronic filing options may make the process easier or enlisting the assistance of a professional return preparer may also help. But whether you choose one of those options or give it a try on your own, hopefully these tips and hints for finding key items are helpful.

Changes to be aware of:

  • Filing Status
    The spot for choosing a filing status is now at the very top of the form. It’s right under the form title and above the lines where you enter your name and address information. Don’t forget to check the appropriate box.

  • Full-year health care coverage or exempt
    There’s a new box just under the Spouse’s Social Security Number area, where you now check if you had a full year of qualified coverage or a coverage exemption that covered all of 2018 or a combination of qualifying health care coverage and coverage exemption(s) for every month of 2018. Otherwise you’ll be using the new Schedule 4, Other Taxes, to report a shared responsibility payment.

  • Dependents
    This section is still similar to last year, but there is a new check box to use if the dependent qualifies for the new $500.00 Credit for Other Dependents. 

  • Signature line
    The signature line is on the first page of the form. This can be misleading, because the form continues. So, be cautious you don’t stop there and just sign it thinking that’s the end of the form. Or if you do continue, don’t forget to come back and sign it before filing it. YOU MUST SIGN YOUR TAX FORM FOR IT TO BE PROPERLY PROCESSED.

  • Tax
    Line 11a. This is where the tax from the Tax Table, located in the form Instructions, goes now instead of line 44.

Probably the biggest adjustment to get used to is that most of the sections you used to see on the Form 1040 have now been removed and separate numbered schedules have replaced them. On the new Form 1040, there are still five income items that stayed on the main form, but all the others moved to Schedule 1, Additional Income and Adjustments to Income. You’ll see similar changes for the “Other Taxes” section, now Schedule 4, and so on.

Where to report some common items: 


Schedule 1, Additional Income and Adjustments to Income

  • Taxable refunds
  • Alimony received
  • Business income (Schedule C)
  • Health Savings Account deduction
  • Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) deduction

Schedule 2, Tax

  • Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Excess advanced Premium Tax Credit Repayment

Schedule 3, Nonrefundable Credits

  • Child and dependent care credit
  • Other credits, such as mortgage interest credit, credit for the elderly or disabled, and adoption credit

Schedule 4, Other Taxes

  • Uncollected social security and Medicare tax on Tips
  • Additional tax on IRA early distributions

Schedule 5, Other Payments and Refundable Credits

  • Estimated Tax Payments
  • Premium Tax Credit

More Help and Information

It’s important to understand how the new tax law changes might affect you. We have a great resource to help you, TAS’s Tax Reform Changes website. It’s available in both English and Tax Changes en Español, and has information for you about what is changing and what is not for the 2018 tax year in an easy to understand format by topic, and line-by-line using the 2017 Form 1040. It also has the line and schedule references for the new 2018 Form 1040.


Other Resources: