Saturday, January 11, 2014

How to Make Tax Season Easier / File Electronically, and Use the IRS's Free Online Guides

Tom Herman for the Wall St. Journal writes: Early birds, it's official: The Internal Revenue Service will begin processing federal income-tax returns on Jan. 31. A few suggestions that might help make your tax-preparation chores go more smoothly:

If you're interested in getting your refund as quickly as possible—and who isn't?—consider filing electronically and telling the IRS to deposit your refund directly into your bank account. Tax experts agree this is much smarter than sending in a paper return and waiting for a government check to show up in your mailbox.
Many software companies "are expected to begin accepting tax returns in January and hold those returns until the IRS systems open on Jan. 31," the IRS said in a recent statement. The IRS won't process any returns before Jan. 31, "so there is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date."
Looking for a reliable tax guide that's free? Try IRS Publication 17, "Your Federal Income Tax." It may not answer all your questions, but it's remarkably solid and includes many helpful examples. The IRS posted a newly revised version on its website (
Beware of con artists posing as the IRS. For example, you might get an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS, saying you have a refund awaiting you and that all you have to do to get it is to reveal sensitive personal information, such as your Social Security number. Don't fall for it. Hit the delete button.
The IRS often emphasizes that it doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email to ask for personal or financial information. That includes "any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social-media channels."
"Every day, crooks come up with new ways to steal your identity and other personal information," an IRS video says. "Scammers may even call you or show up at your door. Don't be a victim."


Post a Comment