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Top Ten Tax Tips

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Here are the top 10 tips from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that will help you file your taxes. Even though your tax return is not due until April, getting an early start will make filing easier.

  1. Start gathering your records. Collect any documents and forms you will need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you are claiming on your return.  Use this helpful checklist.
  2. Be on the lookout. You will need W-2s and 1099s to file your tax return. These often come in the mail.
  3. Use Free File. Everyone can find an option to prepare their tax return and e-file it free. See Free File Software Offers. If you made $66,000 or less, you qualify for free tax software. If you made more than $66,000 or you are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there's Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic versions of IRS paper forms. See what Free File software is available to you.
  4. Try IRS e-file. IRS e-file is the safe, easy and most common way to file a tax return. If you owe taxes, you have payment options to file immediately and pay by the tax deadline. Best of all, combine e-file with direct deposit and you get your refund in as few as 10 days. See the IRS e-File Options for Individuals.
  5. Consider other filing options. There are many different options for filing your tax return.You can prepare it yourself or go to a tax preparer. You may be eligible for free face-to-face help at an IRS office or volunteer site. Learn about your options and find the best one for you.
  6. Consider Direct Deposit. If you choose to have your refund deposited directly into your bank account, you will get your refund faster than waiting for a paper check.
  7. Visit the IRS website. The official IRS website is a great place to find everything you need to file your tax return: forms, publications, tips, answers to frequently asked questions and updates on tax law changes.
  8. Remember this number: 17. Check out IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax Guide on the IRS website. It covers the general rules for filing a federal income tax return. It supplements the information in your tax form instruction booklet. It explains the tax law to make sure you pay only the tax you owe and no more.
  9. Review! Review! Review! Do not rush. We all make mistakes when we rush. Mistakes slow down the processing of your return. Double-check all the Social Security Numbers and math calculations on your return. These are the most common mistakes taxpayers make.
  10. Do not panic! If you run into a problem, remember the IRS is there to help. Use the online Interactive Tax Assistant or call 1-800-829-1040.
May 2013/Revised July 2018
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