Your 2018 Tax Filing Options
Filing Your 2017 Tax Return
Tax time is here again.
Filing your tax return is the easy part – it’s calculating your deductions, credits, and income that can be tricky. You have a few different options available for filing your tax return, from using the traditional paper method to e-filing (electronic filing) through a few different sources.
FIRST… determine whether you need to file. Most U.S. residents should file a Federal income tax return, but not everyone is required to submit a tax return to the IRS each year. The determining factors on whether you need to file are based on your age, income, and filing status. You can find out whether you need to file on the IRS.gov website.
Paper Filing by Mail
You can use the traditional method and send in your tax return on paper to the IRS. Tax forms are available online to print through the IRS website. You can also find paper forms at IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers located throughout the country. Some local post offices and libraries may also have copies of common tax forms. If you prefer, you can call the IRS and have forms sent to you – it usually takes about 10 days for them to arrive once you order them.
Once you complete your tax return, you will need to mail it in to the appropriate IRS center for your state. There are mailing addresses listed online at irs.gov, as well as in the instruction booklets for the 1040, 1040EZ, 1040A, 1040ES and 1040V forms. Your mailed return must have a postmark of no later than April 17, 2018 to be considered filed on time.
The quickest way to file your 2017 tax return is to do so electronically. This sends your data immediately to the IRS and gives you a faster acceptance and processing of your tax return. You can e-file directly using software provided by IRS-approved e-file providers.
Free e-file. The IRS offers free e-filing for some taxpayers. If your income is below $66,000, the IRS has free filing software available with fillable forms online. If your income is above $66,000, there are free fillable forms that you can e-file, but you must know how to complete the forms without software help.
Tax software. If you purchase commercial tax software, e-filing options are included to submit your tax return to the IRS after it is completed. These software providers will make it easier to file by yourself, with self-guided step-by-step programs to help you fill out your return.
Authorized e-file providers. You can find an authorized e-file provider in your area by going on the irs.gov website. Most professional tax preparers can submit your tax return through e-file for you.
For most people, e-filing is the best option for sending their tax return to the IRS. Any tax payments can also be processed electronically using your bank account or debit/credit card. You can also wire or pay cash separately from e-filing – just make sure your payment is processed by the April 17, 2018 deadline.
Filing your return can be quick and easy. However, make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to get your tax return completed to file before the deadline to avoid possible penalties for late filing or past due tax payments.