There was a time I didn’t need tax return help. My finances were so simple I could get a form at the post office, fill it out and mail it to the IRS the same day. These days my finances and IRS requirements are more complicated. So I pay a CPA to prepare and e-file my returns by the April 15 deadline. Almost everyone can use some help with tax returns. Here are some tips:
How to get federal income tax forms and publications
How to get state income tax forms and publications
- Online: Search for “income tax forms” plus the name of your state
- Post offices and libraries: Some post offices and libraries have forms, but call to confirm before you go.
Ways to file
- Prepare and mail paper returns yourself (free).
- Fill out and e-file your return with IRS free file or fillable forms. Best for annual income of $69,000 or less.
- Use a free tax return site. The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax help and e-file for taxpayers who qualify.
Learn more about free tax return preparation.
- E-file using a commercial software program. See reviews of popular software here. To check for a better price do an online search for the program’s name + “coupon.” You can use some programs free if your income is $69,000 or less. Access free program details from IRS free file, not the brand’s home page.
- Hire an authorized tax pro such as a CPA or a walk-in business like H&R Block.
Find local tax pros authorized by the IRS to e-file.
Some tax deductions you might miss
If you itemize expenses make sure you include all the deductions you’re entitled to.
For a list of commonly overlooked deductions, click here.
Know which records to keep and which to toss
While you’re digging through your files, why not toss the info you don’t need anymore? For a list of which records you can toss and which to keep, click here.
Find more links you can really use at HabiLinks
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