Taxpayers can avoid common errors on their federal tax returns and get their refund sooner by ensuring they are complete, accurate, and error-free. They should follow the tips below for a smoother filing process, according to a news release.
Gather all Tax Documents
Taxpayers should gather all documents to support tax deductions and credits, like education credits or mortgage interest payments. Taxpayers should also have their Forms W-2, 1099, and prior-year tax return available; they may need them.
Filing electronically through IRS Free File or another e-file service provider helps reduce math errors and identifies potential tax credits or deductions the taxpayer may be eligible to claim. Filing electronically and choosing direct deposit is a fast and secure way for taxpayers to receive a refund.
Report All Taxable Income
Most income is taxable. Under-reporting income may lead to penalties and interest. Income may include unemployment income, interest received, and income from the gig economy, service industry, and digital assets. Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, has more information.
Request an Extension, if Needed
Taxpayers who need more time to file can easily request a six-month filing extension to Oct.16 to prevent late filing penalties. Use IRS Free File or visit IRS.gov/extension to file for an extension by April 18. While an extension grants additional filing time, most taxpayers’ tax payments are still due on April 18.
Taxpayers can also request an extension by paying all or part of their estimated income tax due and indicating that the payment is for an extension. They can do this using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, a debit, credit card, or digital wallet. This way taxpayers don’t have to file a separate extension form and will receive a confirmation number for their records.
Mail Paper Returns to the Correct Address
Taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to file electronically if possible. Those who need to file a paper tax return should confirm the correct address of where to file on IRS.gov or on Form 1040 instructions to avoid processing delays.
Keep a Copy of the Tax Return
When ready to file, taxpayers should make copies of their signed returns and any schedules for their records. Copies help them prepare future tax returns and make math computations if they need to file an amended return. Generally, taxpayers must keep their records that support an item of income, deduction, or credit shown on their tax return until the period of limitations for that tax return ends.