A Guide to Filing Your Federal Income Tax Return

How to File Your Federal Income Tax Return

Filing your federal income tax return can seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps and guidance, it can be a smooth process. Here are the steps to file your federal taxes and how to contact the IRS if you need help.

IRS Direct File

If you live in one of the 12 participating states and have a simple tax return, you may be able to file for free online through the IRS Direct File pilot program.

Steps to File Your Federal Tax Return

Before you begin, gather all the necessary forms and receipts that show the money you earned and the tax-deductible expenses you paid. These include:

  • A W-2 form from each employer
  • Other earning and interest statements (1099 and 1099-INT forms)
  • Receipts for charitable donations, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, medical and business expenses, and other tax-deductible expenses if you are itemizing your return

Next, choose your filing status based on whether you are married and the percentage you pay toward household expenses. Then, decide how you want to file your taxes. The IRS recommends using tax preparation software to e-file for the easiest and most accurate returns and fastest refunds. If you are in one of the 12 participating states and have a simple tax return, you may be able to file for free online through the IRS Direct File pilot program. If you prefer to file by mail, keep in mind that it can take four weeks or more for the IRS to process your return.

Once you have determined whether you are taking the standard deduction or itemizing your return, make a payment if you owe money. You can make a tax payment online, including applying for a payment plan, or pay by check or money order and send it to the appropriate address.

Finally, submit your return by the filing deadline and check the status of your tax refund. If you have any questions or need further assistance, the IRS recommends finding answers online. If you cannot find the answer on the IRS website, you can call the IRS or visit a local taxpayer assistance center office in person. Please note that the IRS does not accept tax-related questions by email.

7 thoughts on “A Guide to Filing Your Federal Income Tax Return”

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