Getting Prepared for Your Efile Tax Return is a Snap
As the federal government begins to get more advanced with the technology they employ, more and more people are turning to a paperless method to file their taxes. This is great news for those of us who are not keen on filling out endless paperwork and more inclined to use a computer whenever we can. It also means that you are not going to have to keep track of physical forms and envelopes that you need to have mailed by a certain date. The efile tax return is a brilliant way to go if you love the convenience of being able to do your taxes any time of night or day.
Getting yourself ready to file is easy and whether you are taking your taxes to a service to have them efiled or you are doing it on your own at the comfort of your own computer, you will need the same items before you can begin. First off you will need the Social Security numbers of everyone who will be listed on the return, including your spouse and any dependants that you are looking to claim. W-2 Forms for both people, if filing jointly, are required. Depending on your financial situation and which form you are using (such as 1040EZ, 1040A, 1040), you may need Form 1099 for Income Tax Withholding or other forms of income including dividends or retirement income. If you will be using a Schedule A with your efile tax return to itemize your deductions then you will want to have that handy, as well.
Finally, be sure that you have receipts and records handy for your income and expenses. Researching this aspect of tax records is very important and will make sure you stay on the right side of the IRS. Last year’s AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) or the PIN you used the last time you filed will also be needed. Don’t forget your bank account numbers if you are looking to get a quick return.
Now that most of the world is online, many people are enjoying the convenience of filing their taxes over the internet because this process uses less paper and takes far less time. While the ease and quickness with which we can all handle our taxes these days is certainly a good thing, there is a dark side that you definitely need to be aware of. Computer crime is on the rise, an expected side effect of the mass use of any new technology. You need to be savvy about the methods and tactics that these criminals are using to avoid turning the joy of your tax return into a real nightmare.
Keep in mind that when you are interacting with the IRS, you want to make sure that you do so exclusively over their official website. Type that address into the url bar of your web browser and never follow any links that you receive in an email. The IRS does not email taxpayers about their tax return status or any other facet of their tax paperwork. By following a link inside your email inbox you will most likely be taking the bait of criminals who will lead you to another website that looks like the website of the IRS. There they will attempt to get you to enter in your personal information such as name, address, phone number and Social Security number. Once they have this information they can then either keep it and carry out a full scale identity theft or sell it to other parties in the criminal underworld who will put it to use for their own purposes. There is a strong possibility that they will also try and get you to input your bank account information so that they can transfer your money to themselves. Always be extremely cautious whenever you are asked for banking information from any website regardless of how official it appears to be.
When it comes to taxes, as much as they may be one of the most certain aspects of life, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Many people worry that they are not going to fill out the paperwork correctly, but it is actually quite a bit easier to do this than you might think. The first thing you need to understand is that your tax return is only as complicated as you make it. Once you know which of the tax forms you need, you simply fill them out and file with the IRS before the deadline.
As a general rule, most people with average incomes can make do with filing Form 1040EZ. This is the simplest tax form and allows the IRS to process your tax form the quickest out of all the forms. Your next option is Form 1040A which the majority of taxpayers will apply for. You use this form if do not need to itemize any deductions. For the most complex tax situations, Form 1040 is what you need. This form can handle reporting income from stocks, foreign wages or other tax situations that the other forms are not designed to deal with. An additional form for gift tax (Form 709) must be filled out by those who’ve given a gift of $12,000 or more to a single person must be sent to the IRS while reporting bank accounts held in other countries must be reported to the Treasury Department by filing a TD F 90-22.1 if the amount held outside the United States is $10,000 or more.
Since the forms for tax returns are generally laid out in a worksheet format, you simply need to know the information that you must fill in prior to filing. The most crucial aspect of staying prepared is to keep your tax related paperwork in one place. This means your Form W-2’s from anywhere you have worked since the beginning of the tax year. If you change jobs, make sure that you get this paperwork because you must have it for each job that has held taxes back for you. You also need the 1099 forms to report any dividends, earnings from interest and other types of income you need to report.
By organizing your resources ahead of time, you can avoid that last second rush to file and make your tax returns a breeze to take care of.