With football season winding down, another season is just starting – Tax Season. Although watching the college bowl games and NFL playoffs is clearly much more exciting than watching the IRS’s youtube video above, you can stay on top of your “tax game” by following these tips:
1. GATHER YOUR DOCUMENTS you’ll need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you’re claiming on your return. Keep a lookout for your W-2s and 1099s which you should receive soon – you’ll need these to file your tax return.
2. USE THE Interactive Tax Assistant available on the IRS website to find answers to your tax questions about credits, deductions, general filing questions and more.
3. LET Free File do the hard work for you with brand-name tax software or online fillable forms. It’s available exclusively at www.irs.gov. Everyone can find an option to prepare their tax return and e-file it for free. If you made $57,000 or less, you qualify to use free tax software offered through a private-public partnership with manufacturers. If you made more or are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there’s Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic versions of IRS paper forms.
4. CHECK OUT IRS e-file – a safe and easy way to file a tax return. Last year, 79 percent of taxpayers – 106 million people – used IRS e-file. Many tax preparers are now required to use e-file.
5. CONSIDER OTHER FILING OPTIONS. If you have a more complex tax situation, it may be advisable to retain a tax professional to prepare your return. Alternatively, you may be eligible for free face-to-face help at a volunteer site (VITA). Check to see if there’s a VITA location near you.
6. DO THE DIRECT DEPOSIT. The IRS issues refunds to 98 percent of electronic filers by direct deposit within 14 days, if there are no problems, and some may be issued in as few as 10 days.
9. CHECK OUT IRS PUBLICATION 17 – Your Federal Income Tax, on the IRS website. It’s a comprehensive resource for taxpayers, highlighting everything you’ll need to know when filing your return.
10. REVIEW! Don’t rush. Mistakes slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double check all the Social Security numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors.