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Monday March 20, 2023

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Stress-Free Tax Filing Tips

As the tax season moves into high gear, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published a series of tax tips for stress-free filing. The IRS asks taxpayers to keep these tips in mind to make certain that their taxes are done correctly and they receive prompt refunds.

1. Good Records — Taxpayers should gather all of their records. A key to easy tax filing is maintaining good records. These records enable taxpayers to take appropriate deductions and credits.

2. Use IRS.gov — The IRS website, IRS.gov, is available around-the-clock. It is the fastest way to benefit from assistance. You can use IRS.gov to file your tax return, pay taxes, receive information about your returns or find answers to many different tax questions. The IRS Services Guide on this website explains the best ways to obtain assistance from the IRS.

3. Helpful Online ToolsIRS.gov includes a wealth of helpful tools. If you have tax questions, use the Interactive Tax Assistant to obtain quick answers. The IRS has upgraded this tool and it generally provides the same answers that would be available over the phone.

4. Reputable Preparer — Over half of taxpayers use a CPA, attorney, enrolled agent or other preparer. You can go to IRS.gov/chooseataxpro and find many qualified preparers. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers also lists professionals and their credentials for filing returns.

5. File Electronic Returns — The IRS Free File program will help you calculate your earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit and recovery rebate credit. Online software, MilTax, is available for members of the military and certain Department of Defense veterans. There are also limited Free File options available in Spanish.

6. 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. Unemployment Benefits — If you received unemployment benefits, these amounts are reportable as taxable income on your IRS Form 1040.

9. Review to Avoid Errors — Take extra time to review your tax return. Any taxpayer should understand the basic income, deductions and tax amounts. It is important that you file a complete and accurate return. Your electronic filing is generally the most accurate way to eliminate clerical or math errors. Check to make certain all names and Social Security numbers are correct. You also must recheck your bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of your refund.

Published March 17, 2023
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