Doing your taxes doesn’t have to be taxing. You can make preparing and filing your federal income taxes easier by following these six tips from the IRS:
- Use IRS Free File. If you made $58,000 or less, prepare your return using free, brand-name tax software. If you made more and you’re comfortable doing your own tax return, use Free File Fillable Forms. This option is the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Go to IRS.gov/freefile to get started today.
- Try IRS e-file. You should try IRS e-file whether you do your own taxes or have them done for you. E-file is the safest, easiest, most accurate way to file a tax return. In fact, you’re 20 times more likely to make a mistake when you file a tax return on paper because e-file software will usually catch your errors. It will also alert you to tax credits and deductions you may otherwise miss. If you owe taxes, you can file now and pay later. The easiest way to do this is to use the Electronic Funds Withdrawal option to pay by the April 15 deadline.
- Don’t delay. Avoid doing your taxes at the last minute. If you rush to make the filing deadline and file a tax return on paper, you may overlook tax savings. You’re also more likely to make a mistake. An error will usually delay your refund and often causes the IRS to send you a letter.
- Visit IRS.gov. Go online for tax news and information. Make ‘1040 Central’ your go-to source for all the tax help you need to file your tax return.
- File on time. If you owe taxes but can’t pay by April 15, you should still file on time and pay as much as you can. This will minimize penalties and interest charges. If you can’t pay all the tax you owe, you may apply for an installment agreement. The best way to apply is to use the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov. You can also apply by mail using IRS Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request.
- File an extension. If your tax return is not ready by April 15, you can get an automatic six-month extension. E-file your extension request using the Free File program. You can also get an extension using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You should e-file or mail Form 4868 and pay any tax due by April 15.
Visit IRS.gov to get the tax forms you need. You can also call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have them mailed to you. Allow at least 10 days for mailing.
Additional IRS Resources: