Tax time can cause nervousness and frustration, so your BBB wishes to provide some tips today to help you get started on your taxes as well as provide some IRS answers to common consumer fears.
First, gather the necessities: A great way to start is to look at your return from last year. This can help provide a basic checklist for the items you’ll need, such as W-2’s, interest and donation forms, and other forms necessary to file your taxes. You can also find a pretty extensive list of possible forms needed on the IRS’s website. From there, think about new developments this year. Did you start investing, change jobs, or incur education or childcare expenses? The more information you can gather up front will help.
Decide if you plan to file on your own or with a tax professional: Information to help with the decision can be found at IRS.gov. Here you can find the “Free File Software” or fillable forms with the eligibility requirements, frequently asked questions, or if you prefer to go through a tax provider, they provide a list of authorized IRS e-file providers in your area. You can then obtain a free BBB Business Review from bbb.org/evansville to see if the business has had any complaints, check out their rating and learn if they are accredited to help with your selection.
If you need more time: The IRS does actually provide extensions in some cases, and their website documents three different ways you can file for one. The best way to learn about the process of gaining an extension is to visit the IRS’s home page and look for the link labeled “extension of time to file.”
If you can’t pay your taxes, know there are options: The IRS can provide short term payment extensions, installment agreements (monthly payments) or take an “offer in compromise,” which will cut your tax liability due to a documented financial hardship. With an “offer in compromise,” the deadline for your payment will be extended one year.
If it’s just a short term loan you need, the IRS will also take a credit card payment for taxes that are owed.
Have more questions? The IRS has local offices in many cities to help. When you look up your city and local office on the IRS website, it will show what services are provided by the office as well as their hours and a number to call. You can also call the IRS toll free at 1-800-TAX-1040.
To learn more about the tips discussed today visit IRS.gov or check out your BBB’s Consumer Education blog for more tax time tips. We can be found at bbbconsumereducation.com.