Even the IRS knows that tax season can be stress season for some people. The IRS wants to help taxpayers as much as possible. With the 2020 tax season here, taxpayers can keep in mind these tips. Following them will help get this year's taxes done accurately and on time.
- Gather records. Good recordkeeping ensures nothing gets overlooked. Records such as receipts and cancelled checks can provide proof of expenses.
- Start with IRS.gov. The IRS website is an excellent resource available 24/7. Taxpayers can click on the Filing tab for links to filing tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and IRS forms and publications. The IRS Services Guide (PDF) outlines the many ways to get help.
- Use online tools. The IRS websites home to many useful online tools. One of these is the Interactive Tax Assistant, which provides answers to many tax questions. It gives the same answers that an IRS representative would give over the phone.
- File electronically. Most taxpayers file electronically these days for its ease and convenience. The tax software uses the taxpayer's responses to complete the Form 1040 and any needed schedules. For taxpayers who filed paper returns in the past, this may be the year to consider the benefits of filing electronically.
- Get free help. Taxpayers can use IRS Free File, Free File Fillable Forms, or get help from trained volunteers at sites around the country.
- Explore other filing options. Taxpayers have many options to file. They can self-prepare or use a tax preparer. IRS.gov has resources to help people choose a tax pro. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers provides information on who has a professional credential or participates in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program.
- Choose direct deposit. The fastest and safest way to a refund is to file electronically and choose direct deposit. The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days.
- Report all income. Taxpayers must report all their income from Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and Forms 1099. Other income may be reportable as well, even if the taxpayer does not receive a statement.
- Avoid errors. Taxpayers should take extra time to review their tax return so they file accurately the first time. Filing electronically is the most accurate way to eliminate many common errors. Paper return filers should check all names and double check all Social Security numbers. They should also be sure to sign the tax return.
- Check out Publication 17. This guide, which is available on IRS.gov and as an eBook, covers a wide range of tax topics to help people file their tax returns.
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