1040A From 1949

Ah, the simpler times and single form tax returns of 1949.

Inside, a full scan of the Silent Generation’s 1040A…



(Thanks to Daniel!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. mopar_man says:

    If only more things would continue to be that simple.

  2. Buran says:

    @mopar_man: The 1040-EZ form is not that bad. It looks complicated, and you have to refer to a chart or two, but in the end it’s not that bad. I’ve done it with and without tax software.

    Of course, not everyone is eligible to use it…

  3. ironchef says:

    pretty amazing considering there was no layout software back then.

  4. raybury says:

    “Husband and wife”?!? First, why does the non-womyn come first? Hello! Shouldn’t this be “domestic partner(s)”?

    Nah, just kidding, “spouse” as used on current forms is fine with me. So, from a civil rather than religious perspective, is gay marriage.

    But I am absolutely opposed to gay divorce.

  5. lihtox says:

    This is really interesting. First, I like the way it allows the possibility that the wife is the primary breadwinner, but only in a parenthetical way. It’d be interesting to see how this language changed over the years.

    Second, notice that the filer doesn’t calculate the tax; that’s left to the IRS. I wonder when that changed…the advent of the pocket calculator maybe? We really do too much work on our taxes: the IRS gets all our W-2s and whatnot, why don’t they send us a tax form already partially filled out? Even better, give us a web interface with that information already filled in.

    Third: $5000/yr was such a large income that you had to file form 1040–I wonder what kicked in at that point? (Or maybe they figure that, if you’re that rich, you can calculate your own darn tax. :)

  6. ElizabethD says:

    Not sure what this has to do with baby-boomers, except maybe this guy was the parent of some. ??

    My mom kept all her income tax records going back to 1941, when she first began working. After both my parents had died, in early 2002 my husband and I discovered everything still neatly filed and preserved in a basement file cabinet. Interesting stuff.

  7. DaveInTheCorn says:

    As Buran said, this only a little less complicated than the 1040-EZ.

    If you have less than $100k of limited forms of income (wage income,

    The 1040EZ probably takes about 15-20 minutes at most after you find all your papers

  8. mac-phisto says:

    my favorite part is: “EMPLOYEES OPTIONAL U.S. Individual Income Tax Return”

  9. brooklynbs says:

    @ElizabethD: Yea, the oldest baby-boomer would have been four or five years old when they did their 1949 taxes. The baby-boom began in 1946, or 1945, depending on whose theory you want to subscribe to.

  10. Pheos says:

    Whats the fine for being 58 years past due?!

  11. KatieKate93 says:

    The 1040EZ is really simple, I agree. I did mine (at the last possible minute) last year while waiting in the Comcast drive through line, using only the calculator on my cellphone. I also did my Massachusetts state taxes at the same time.

  12. Buran says:

    @KatieKate93: Comcast has a drivethrough?

  13. medalian1 says:

    1040 and 1040EZ aren’t that hard if your using software to do it. I itemized my 05 taxes and it was simple. I don’t understand what is so hard about this. If it’s really complicated get a tax professional (I’m not talking about H&R Block).

  14. aka Cat says:

    Re: when did the gov’t stop calculating and/or do the rich have to calculate their own:

    If you use this form, the collector of internal revenue will compute your tax. (If you wish to compute your own tax, use form 1040)

    Of course, “when did the gov’t stop calculating for the 1040A” is still a valid question.