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Monday March 8, 2021

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Stress-Free Tax Filing Tips

As the tax season moves into high gear, the IRS has published a series of tax tips for stress–free filing. The IRS asks taxpayers to keep these tips in mind to ensure their taxes are done correctly and to receive prompt refunds.
  1. Keep Good Records — Taxpayers should gather their records. A key to easy tax filing is maintaining good records. These records enable taxpayers to take appropriate deductions and receive credits.
  2. Use IRS.gov — The IRS website is available around the clock. It is often the fastest way to obtain assistance from the Service. You can use IRS.gov to file your tax returns, pay taxes, receive information about your returns or find answers to various tax questions. The IRS Services Guide on the website explains the best ways to obtain assistance from the IRS.
  3. Use Helpful Online ToolsIRS.gov includes a wealth of helpful tools. The Interactive Tax Assistant provides quick answers to many tax questions. The IRS has upgraded this tool and it generally provides the same answers that would be available over the phone.
  4. Use a Reputable Preparer — Over half of taxpayers use a CPA, attorney, enrolled agent or other preparer. You can go to IRS.gov/chooseataxpro to find many qualified preparers. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers also lists professionals along with their credentials for filing returns.
  5. File Electronic Returns — The IRS Free File program can help you calculate your earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit and recovery rebate credit. MilTax online software is available for members of the military and certain Department of Defense veterans. There are also Free File options available in Spanish.
  6. Use Direct Deposit — By filing an electronic return and choosing direct deposit, you can ensure both an accurate tax return and a rapid refund.
  7. Report All Income — Income from all sources is taxable. This includes your IRS Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, IRS Forms 1099, gig economy income, tips and other income. All income from any source must be reported. This is true even if you do not receive a formal statement for that income.
  8. Report Unemployment Benefits — If you received unemployment benefits during 2020 (as did tens of millions of Americans due to the pandemic), this is reportable as taxable income on IRS Form 1040.
  9. Review to Avoid Errors — Take extra time to review your tax return. Any taxpayer can understand the basic income, deductions and tax amounts. It is important that you file a complete and accurate return. An electronic filing is generally the most accurate way to eliminate clerical or math errors. Make certain names and Social Security numbers are correct. You should double check your bank account and routing numbers to ensure direct deposit of your refund.

Published March 5, 2021
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