IRS Offers Tips on Filing Returns
WASHINGTON — With less than a month left before the tax deadline, the Internal Revenue Service is encouraging taxpayers working on their 2015 tax returns to take advantage of the numerous online tools and resources available on IRS.gov.
The IRS has a wide variety of easy-to-use, online tools on IRS.gov. Through these, taxpayers can check the status of their refund, request a copy of their tax transcript or get an answer to their tax questions around the clock.
“We are doing everything we can to help taxpayers get the assistance they need this tax season," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "IRS.gov and its online tools, such as the Interactive Tax Assistant, can answer most taxpayer questions -- getting them the tax help they need, when they need it.” IRS information and some tools also are in Spanish.
The Interactive Tax Assistant takes taxpayers through a series of questions and provides them with responses to tax law questions about credits, deductions and general filing issues. Taxpayers get the same answers as if they’d called and spoken with an IRS representative, and they can print out the answers for their records.
Here are some of the most common tax-related questions and the faster and easier ways to get answers:
Missing a 2015 tax refund?
Taxpayers can easily find information about their refund by using the Where’s My Refund? tool. It’s available on IRS.gov and on the official IRS app for smartphones, IRS2Go. Initial refund information is normally available within 24 hours after the IRS receives the taxpayer’s e-filed return or four weeks after the taxpayer mails a paper return to the IRS. The system updates every 24 hours, so there’s no need to check more often.
Need help preparing a tax return?
The VITA/TCE Site Locator enables low- and moderate-income taxpayers to find the nearest volunteer tax help site. Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA/TCE) programs, eligible taxpayers can get help filing their return for free at one of the more than 12,000 community-based tax help sites staffed by more than 90,000 volunteers. This includes claiming tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and meeting requirements under the healthcare law.
The EITC Assistant helps individuals find out if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax benefit that aids millions of low-and moderate-income workers and working families. If they qualify, this credit can increase the tax refund by up to $6,242.
Taxpayers preparing their own return or looking for free tax preparation will find that IRS.gov provides answers to many tax questions in a user-friendly format. Taxpayers can start by clicking on the Filing tab on IRS.gov. It’s the place to find important updates and information regarding return preparation and electronic filing options.
The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov is offered by 13 tax software companies that make their brand-name products available for free to the 70 percent of taxpayers who earned $62,000 or less in 2015. Users generally answer simple questions in an interview format and the software does the hard work including finding the deductions, credits and exemptions for which the taxpayer qualifies. In addition, IRS.gov offers Free File Fillable Forms for households whose earnings are more than $62,000 and are comfortable preparing their taxes.
Free File can also help taxpayers with myRA, a new free, retirement savings account from the Treasury Department. Taxpayers who have a myRA account may use Free File to deposit part or all of their tax refund into their myRA account.
( information from the IRS)