3 Things to Know Before You File Your Taxes - TaxDebtLawyer.net

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3 Things to Know Before You File Your Taxes

Filing taxes is an annual ritual that can be smooth and stress-free with the right preparation. As you gear up for this year’s tax season, there are crucial things to keep in mind to ensure a seamless process. 

In this article, we’ll explore three key aspects: knowing your deadlines, producing last year’s returns, and using the IRS Direct File system if you qualify. Each of these points plays a vital role in the tax filing process, and understanding them can save you time, money, and potential headaches.

1. Know Your Deadlines

The importance of being aware of tax deadlines cannot be overstated. Missing a tax deadline can result in penalties, interest, and added stress. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Annual Deadline: Typically, the deadline for filing your tax return is April 15th. However, if this date falls on a weekend or a holiday, the deadline is pushed to the next business day.
  2. Extension Request: If you need more time, you can file for an extension using Form 4868, which grants you an additional six months. Remember, this extension applies to filing, not paying any taxes owed. If you anticipate owing taxes, it’s best to estimate and pay by the original deadline to avoid penalties.
  3. State Deadlines: Don’t forget about your state tax deadlines, which may differ from federal deadlines. Check with your state’s tax agency for specific dates.

2. Produce Last Year’s Returns

Having your previous year’s tax return at hand can be incredibly helpful when filing your current return. Here’s why:

  • Reference for Income and Deductions: Your last year’s return serves as a reference for the types of income, deductions, and credits you might need to report again.
  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): Your AGI from the previous year is often required to verify your identity when e-filing. It can also be useful if you’re applying for loans or financial aid, as it provides proof of your earnings.
  • Organizational Tool: Reviewing last year’s return can help you organize your documents for the current year, ensuring you don’t miss out on any important information.

3. Use the IRS Direct File System if You Qualify

For many taxpayers, the IRS Direct File system offers a convenient and cost-effective way to file taxes. Direct File is available to taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less, which applies to a significant portion of the American population.

Benefits of Free File:

  • Cost-Effective: It’s free! This can be a significant saving compared to paid tax preparation services.
  • Convenience: You can file your taxes online from the comfort of your home.
  • Accuracy: These programs often include error checks and guides to help you through the process, reducing the likelihood of mistakes.
  • Faster Refunds: Combined with direct deposit, e-filing through Free File can result in faster tax refunds compared to paper filing.

The IRS partners with several tax software companies to offer Direct File. Each provider has its own criteria and features, so review your options on the IRS website to find the best fit for your situation. The IRS ensures that Direct File partners adhere to strict security and privacy standards, giving you peace of mind about the safety of your personal information.

Tackle This Tax Season With Confidence

Filing your taxes doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By keeping these three key points in mind – knowing your deadlines, having last year’s return ready, and utilizing the IRS Direct File system if eligible – you can approach tax season with confidence and ease. Remember, staying organized and informed is the key to a smooth tax filing experience. If you encounter complexities or have specific questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a tax professional for guidance.

For more information and assistance, visit our website to take advantage of our educational resources about tax debt. Click here to connect with a tax attorney who can provide you with the guidance and support needed to tackle your tax issues effectively. 

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