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 an item of income or a deduction you're taking on your return.
2. Be on the lookout. Gather any W-2s and 1099s that were mailed to you by your employer. You'll need these to file your tax return.
3. Try e-file. When you file electronically, the software will handle the math calculations for you. If you use direct deposit, you will get your refund in about half the time it takes when you file a paper return. E-file is now the way the majority of returns are filed. Last year, 2 out of 3 taxpayers used e-file.
4. Check out Free File. If your income is $57,000 or less you may be eligible for free tax preparation software and free electronic filing. The IRS partners with 20 tax software companies to create this free service. Free File is for the cost conscious taxpayer who wants reliable question-and-answer software to help them prepare a return. Visit IRS.gov to learn more.
5. Consider other filing options. There are many different options for filing your tax return. 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 IRS.gov again and again. The official IRS Web site is a great place to find everything you'll need to file your tax return: forms, tips, answers to frequently asked questions and updates on tax law changes.
8. Remember this number: 17. Check out Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax on IRS.gov. 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. We all make mistakes when we rush. Mistakes will slow down 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, check out the IRS website (IRS.gov) or call the IRS customer service number at 800-829-1040.
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