IRS offers top 10 tax time tips

By Internal Revenue Service

Internal Revenue Service
The income tax filing season has begun and important tax documents should be arriving in the mail. Even though your return is not due until April, getting an early start will make filing easier. Here are the Internal Revenue Service’s top 10 tips that will help your tax filing process run smoother than ever this year.
1:Start gathering your records. Round up any documents or forms you’ll need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you’re claiming on your return.
2:Be on the lookout. W-2s and 1099s will be coming soon; you’ll need these to file your tax return.
3:Use Free File: Let Free File do the hard work for you with brand-name tax software or online fillable forms. It’s available exclusively at irs.gov. Everyone can find an option to prepare a tax return and e-file it for free. If you made $58,000 or less, you qualify for free tax software that is offered through a private-public partnership with manufacturers. If you made more or are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there’s Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic versions of IRS paper forms. Visit irs.gov/freefile to review your options.
4:Try IRS e-file: After 21 years, IRS e-file has become the safe, easy and most common way to file a tax return. Last year, 70 percent of taxpayers – 99 million people – used IRS e-file. Starting in 2011, many tax preparers will be required to use e-file and will explain your filing options. IRS e-file is approaching 1 billion returns processed safely and securely. If you owe taxes, you have payment options to file immediately and pay by the tax deadline. Combining e-file with direct deposit can result in getting your refund in as few as 10 days.
5:Consider other filing options. 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. Give yourself time to weigh all the different options and find the one that best suits your needs.
6:Consider Direct Deposit. If you elect to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you’ll receive it faster than waiting for a paper check.
7:Visit the IRS website frequently. The official IRS website has everything you’ll 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” on the IRS website. It’s a comprehensive collection of information for taxpayers highlighting everything you’ll need to know when filing your return.
9:Review, review, review. Don’t rush. Mistakes will slow the processing of your return. Be sure to double-check all the Social Security numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors made by taxpayers.
10:Don’t panic. If you run into a problem, contact the IRS. Visit www.irs.gov or call toll-free at (800) 829-1040.