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When it comes to federal income tax forms, there are three versions available to individuals:
There are rules for each of these forms regarding the taxpayers who can or must use it. Although anyone can use Form 1040, the general idea is that you should always use the simplest tax form that is available to you, provided you don't miss out on any tax breaks by doing so. Historically, the IRS has been less likely to audit returns that are made on the simpler forms.
If you cannot use the 1040EZ or the 1040A under the rules for those forms, you must use the regular 1040 form.
For business owners, the answer to the question "Which tax form?" is cut and dried. If you file a Schedule C or C-EZ, or if you must report a taxable sale of business property, you must file the "long form" (Form 1040) for your federal income tax.