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IRS forms

Form 1040-SR, tax return for seniors

Mark Steber

Chief Tax Information Officer

Published on: September 15, 2023

If you or your spouse are over 65, you may be interested in knowing what a Form 1040-SR is. It is the tax return form for seniors looking to file their taxes with a larger print, easier-to-read version of Form 1040. Continu

e reading to find out what the differences between Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR are, what deductions are available to you, and more.

Introduction to the IRS form 1040-SR, tax return for seniors

Here, we’ll explore Form 1040-SR, what other documents you may need, if you need to use this form if you’re over 65, and other important topics in this piece.

What is Form 1040?

First, let’s dive into what a Form 1040 is. This is the main form for a tax return that gets filed with the IRS when you are a U.S. citizen or resident with taxable income to report.

The very first 1040 tax form was created in 1914, a year after the 16th Amendment, which authorized Congress to impose a federal tax on personal income, ratified in 1913. At the time, fewer than 1% of Americans were subject to federal income tax. As the tax base widened during World War II, the tax code grew more complex. 

Originally one page, the 1040 tax return form swelled to two pages with supplementary forms and schedules that could be attached as needed. The 2017 tax reform tried to imitate the simplicity of the original tax return from a century ago, while at the same time addressing the complexities of the modern tax code and renaming several key forms as well. The IRS first introduced Form 1040-SR in 2018.

What's the difference between Form 1040 and 1040-SR?

Both forms largely cover the same bases. But as mentioned above, Form 1040-SR might make it easier for seniors to file their tax returns. If the senior has a simple tax situation, the form makes it even simpler because it has larger print and includes a standard deduction table directly on the form, so that seniors can quickly look up their standard deduction amounts.

1040-SR eligibility criteria

As mentioned above, the Form 1040-SR is for seniors. You are not required to use 1040-SR, but you may want to if you’re eligible. To be eligible for this form, you or your spouse must be 65 or older.

Put simply, if you or your spouse are age 65 or older, you can file either Form 1040 or 1040-SR, depending on your specific situation. You’d have to file jointly if only one of you is over 65. If you or your spouse are under 65, you can only file Form 1040.

Both forms calculate your taxable income, how much you should pay in taxes, and figure out whether you are due a tax refund or owe the IRS.

Tax deductions for 1040-SR filers

If you are at least 65 years old or blind, you can claim an added 2023 standard deduction of $1,500 if your filing status is married filing jointly, married filing separately or qualifying surviving spouse filing status. You get an added $1,850 if using the single or head of household filing status. If you're 65 and blind, the additional deduction amount is doubled.

Filing status

Standard deduction



65+ Married filing jointly, married filing separately or qualifying surviving spouse


$1,500 ($3,000 if also blind)



Single or Head of Household



($3,700 if also blind)


Before going any further, let’s take a step back and explore the difference between itemized deductions and the standard deduction.

The standard deduction is a specific dollar amount that reduces the amount of income you’re taxed on. The standard deduction amount depends on your filing status and whether you’re 65 or older, are blind, and whether another taxpayer can claim you as a dependent. The IRS adjusts these amounts annually for inflation.

On the other hand, itemized deductions are certain expenses the IRS allows you to deduct from your income to figure out your true taxable income. The more you can itemize, the lower your taxes for the year will be. You could even get a bigger refund.

There are specific circumstances and limits when itemizing deductions. Possible itemized deductions include medical expenses, certain taxes, mortgage interest, charitable contributions, casualty loss in a federally declared disaster area, as well as other miscellaneous deductions.

If you are self-employed, you can claim your self-employment expenses, like your home office, which will reduce your taxable income and the taxes you owe.

Since every taxpayer’s situation is different, a Tax Pro can help you decide whether to itemize or take the standard deduction. But the general rule is easy—you get to pick the bigger deduction of the two: Either the standard deduction that most taxpayers are entitled to, or itemized deductions, if larger.

What other forms may I need with a 1040-SR?

There are three schedules, or additional documents, that may need to be included with the Form 1040-SR, depending on your tax situation:

  • Schedule 1 is necessary if you have had any additional income or adjustments to your income. This would include rental income and student loan interest, among others.
  • Schedule 2 needs to be filed if you owe any additional taxes, such as self-employment tax, household employment tax, or the alternative minimum tax.
  • Schedule 3 is necessary when you have more tax credits and payments. For example, if you want to claim a credit for child and/or dependent care, education credits, saver’s credit, withholding, and more, you’ll have to use the Schedule 3. You could also report excess Social Security tax withheld (which typically affects people with more than one job), net premium tax credits, and more.

Finally, there are other schedules and forms you may need to include to file your return accurately, for example:

  • Schedule A – Itemized Deductions
  • Schedule C – Self-Employment Income
  • Schedule SE – Self-Employment Taxes
  • Form 2441 – Child and Dependent Care Credit
  • Schedule 8812 – Child Tax Credits

Where do I get a 1040-SR tax form?

Your Jackson Hewitt Tax Pro would be able to fill out the 1040-SR with you if you’re eligible. You can also find it here.

Do I have to use 1040-SR if I am a senior?

You do not have to use Form 1040-SR if you’re a senior. Always work with your Tax Pro on whether it’s the best form for you to file your tax return.

What do I need to prepare to file a 1040-SR?

As with all tax returns, when preparing your taxes, there are crucial documents needed to ensure you are doing it correctly.

You will need the following documents:

  • Valid government-issued ID
  • Social Security number
  • Your Forms W-2 from each of your employers, or Forms 1099-NEC or 1099-K from your self-employment or side gig.
  • If you didn’t receive any 1099s from your self-employment or side gig, make sure you have a record of all the income paid to you for the year.
  • Employers have until January 31, to send Forms W-2 and 1099s from the prior year.
  • Forms SSA1099 reporting any Social Security benefits received and 1099-Rs from pensions, retirement accounts, and IRAs with any distributions received
  • You will also need documents detailing deductions from the tax year, such as receipts from charitable donations you made, medical or educational expenses, property taxes, or retirement contributions.

There are many more documents you may need to have ready when preparing your taxes. Jackson Hewitt has a customized tax document checklist to ensure you know exactly what you need when preparing to file your taxes.

Find a Tax Pro near you who can work with you on any questions you may have on Form 1040-SR and beyond.

About the Author

Mark Steber is Senior Vice President and Chief Tax Information Officer for Jackson Hewitt. With over 30 years of experience, he oversees tax service delivery, quality assurance and tax law adherence. Mark is Jackson Hewitt’s national spokesperson and liaison to the Internal Revenue Service and other government authorities. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), holds registrations in Alabama and Georgia, and is an expert on consumer income taxes including electronic tax and tax data protection.

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