Nine Tips for E-filing Your Tax Return

Tax preparer and client ready to e-file a returnWith less than a month to go before Tax Day, more taxpayers are considering e-filing their federal income tax returns. The IRS encourages taxpayers to e-file, citing it as the "safest, fastest and easiest way to submit their individual tax returns." Last year, nearly 100 million taxpayers took them up on it; since 1990, taxpayers have e-filed nearly 1 billion individual federal income tax returns.

With e-file, taxpayers can avoid common filing mistakes. This doesn't mean, however, that you shouldn't be careful. Following are a few e-filing tips to help you get your return to the IRS safely this tax season:
  • Organize your records before you begin. You'll need your current year tax documents as well as last year's tax return.
  • Sign your return. Yes, you'll "sign" your e-filed return, too, by entering last year's adjusted gross income or a five digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) that you create. To create a PIN, go to the IRS website and fill out its secure form.
  • Pay your taxes. If you e-file and you owe, you can send a check to the U.S. Treasury, pay by credit card or authorize an electronic funds withdrawal.
  • Get your refund. If you e-file and you're due a refund, you can arrange to have your check mailed to you or get it faster with direct deposit.
  • Be secure. If you e-file your tax return using third party online software, make sure that the connection is secure (one telltale sign is "https" in the URL).
  • Use common sense. If you use a shared computer, such as a computer at a public library, make sure you log out from the program and clear out the Web browser cache. It's recommended, however, that for the best security, you not use a shared computer.
  • Consider using an authorized IRS e-file provider. If you opt not to e-file on your own, you can use the Authorized IRS e-file Provider Locator to find a tax professional who has been accepted into the IRS electronic filing program.
  • Remember that the IRS doesn't charge to e-file. While your tax professional or software provider may charge a fee, the IRS doesn't charge a fee for electronic filing. If you qualify for free tax services, you may be able to e-file and not pay a thing.
  • Be careful. Finally, remember, if you receive an email purporting to be from the IRS that requires a response, do not click on it or respond directly. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email.

Are Contributions to School District Programs Tax Deductible?

The IRS allows you to claim a deduction for the donations you make to qualified organizations. These organizations include more than just charities and will include any school district program that does not operate for profit and is solely supported by state and local governments.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

What is Form 1099-NEC?

The IRS has reintroduced Form 1099-NEC as the new way to report self-employment income instead of Form 1099-MISC as traditionally had been used. This was done to help clarify the separate filing deadlines on Form 1099-MISC and the new 1099-NEC form will be used starting with the 2020 tax year.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Do I Qualify for Earned Income Credit While on Unemployment?

Receiving unemployment benefits doesn't mean you're automatically ineligible for the Earned Income Credit, but there are other requirements you'll also need to satisfy to claim the EIC.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Guide to Short-term vs Long-term Capital Gains Taxes (Brokerage Accounts, etc.)

Not all capital gains are treated equally. The tax rate can vary dramatically between short-term and long-term gains. Generating gains in a retirement account, such as a 401(k) plan or an IRA, can also affect your tax rate.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com
Read Full Story
Your resource on tax filing
Tax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.