How To File Income Tax Return
When the tax forms begin rolling in at the beginning of the year, it’s time to learn how to file income taxes. Learning this process is important. If you don’t file your tax return, you will be subject to a failure to file penalty, and also may trigger penalties and interest for unpaid taxes that may be due. Luckily, the IRS has provided many tools to help file your income taxes.
What You’ll Need:
- W-2’s (These are provided by your employers)
- 1099’s (These come from banks and investment companies where you have savings and investments)
- Last Year’s Tax Return
- Itemized Deduction Information, if applicable. These range from charitable donation, mortgage fees and interest, to health care costs.
- Decide how to file. If you’re filing electronically, you’ll either use popular off-the-shelf software such as TurboTax to e-file, or you’ll free-file by filling out IRS forms online. If you prefer paper forms, you’ll need to visit the IRS web site to determine which form is applicable. For persons earning under $100,000 through W-2 income, without children or special credits, and who didn’t fund an IRA, a 1040EZ is the quickest form to file. More complicated situations demand the 1040A, 1040, or other income tax forms.
- Find and save the instruction booklet which accompanies your selected form to your hard drive. These are in convenient .pdf format and are useful to answer common questions while completing your tax forms.
- Complete your form truthfully and accurately. Complete each line in order on the return to avoid accidently skipping over data and forgetting to return. Some lines may require to you download additional forms, such as 1040 Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Download these forms, if applicable, and the accompanying instruction book. Refer to the instruction book to answer questions regarding the form.
- Sign and date your return, if using the paper version to file your income taxes. This is an often missed step.
- Use the IRS provided label to mail your return, if filing the paper version. If label information is incorrect, neatly cross out the incorrect information and print accurate data. If you didn’t receive a label, find the appropriate page in the instruction book for your tax form to file your income tax return to the correct address.
- Click the send button to file your completed free-file return if filing electronically. You should receive confirmation instantly from the IRS that they received your document.