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IRS TAX TIPS

Five great reasons to E-file

Are you still doing your taxes on paper? If so, join the 122 million taxpayers who e-filed last year. They already know that IRS e-file is the best way to file a federal tax return.

Here are five great reasons why you should e-file your tax return:

Accurate and complete. E-file is the best way to file an accurate and complete tax return. The tax software does the math for you, and it helps you avoid mistakes.

Safe and secure. IRS e-file meets strict guidelines and uses the best encryption technology. The IRS has safely and securely processed more than 1.2 billion e-filed individual tax returns since the program began.

Faster refunds. E-filing usually brings a faster refund because there is nothing to mail and your return is less likely to have errors, which take longer to process. The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days. The fastest way to get your refund is to combine e-file with direct deposit into your bank account.

Payment options. If you owe taxes, you can e-file early and set an automatic payment date anytime on or before the April 15 due date. You can pay by check or money order, or by debit or credit card. You can also transfer funds electronically from your bank account.

E-file’s easy. You can e-file your federal return through IRS Free File, the free tax preparation program available only at IRS.gov. You can also use commercial tax software or ask your tax preparer to e-file your return. If you qualify, IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly will e-file your return for free.

For more information about IRS e-file, visit IRS.gov.

Which Tax Form Should You File?

Which form should you use to file your federal income taxes? These days, most people use a computer to prepare and e-file their tax forms. It’s easy, because tax software selects the right form for you. If you file on paper, you’ll need to pick the right form to use.

Before you decide, check out IRS Free File on IRS.gov. It has free tax software or a Fillable Forms option that allows you to fill in your tax forms using a computer. You can e-file the completed forms for free!

If you still prefer paper and pen, here are some tips on how to choose the best form for your situation.

You can generally use the 1040EZ if:

Your taxable income is below $100,000;

Your filing status is single or married filing jointly;

You are not claiming any dependents; and

Your interest income is $1,500 or less.

The 1040A may be best for you if:

Your taxable income is below $100,000;

You have capital gain distributions;

You claim certain tax credits; and

You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest.

However, reasons you must use the 1040 include:

Your taxable income is $100,000 or more;

You claim itemized deductions;

You are reporting self-employment income; or

You are reporting income from sale of a property.

Read more about which form to use in IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. The quickest way to get tax forms and instructions is to visit IRS.gov and click on the ‘Forms & Pubs’ tab. New tax forms often appear online well before the printed forms are available.

You can also have forms mailed to you by calling the IRS at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676), or you can pick them up at a local IRS office. Some libraries and post offices also have tax forms.