Gather your tax forms and paperwork - Make sure you have all the IRS forms you need to file. This includes your W-2 form and other income statements. You may also need proof of health insurance coverage to complete your return. Gather all your supporting documents, such as earning statements, interest statements, and receipts for charitable donations. Keep organized records to make the process easier and help avoid issues with your return.
Determine your filing status - Your marital status and how much your household members pay toward keeping up a home can help you figure out your correct filing status.
Calculate your taxes and credits - Add up your sources of income, such as your salary, interest earned from your banking or investment accounts, and your pension or retirement-related accounts. Check to see if you are eligible for credits and deductions, including charitable contributions, education, and child care expenses.
Claim your dependents and exemptions - It's important to understand the rules on claiming dependents (a qualifying child or relative) and exemptions (deductions from your and your dependents' taxable income).
You can pay your federal taxes in one of several ways: direct pay, debit or credit card, electronic federal tax payment system, or check or money order. Find out how to make a tax payment.
Tax Refund Information
If you are expecting a refund and want to check its status, the IRS recommends using its online Where's My Refund tool or the mobile app, IRS2Go. These systems are updated once every 24 hours and are the fastest, easiest ways to track your refund.
You can also contact the IRS to check on the status of your refund. Wait times to speak with a representative can be long. But you can avoid the wait by using the automated phone system. Follow the message prompts when you call.
Refunds are generally issued within 21 days of when you electronically filed your tax return or 42 days of when you filed paper returns.
You can choose to receive your tax refund by direct deposit, U.S. Series I Savings Bonds, or paper check.
Tax Filing when Living Abroad
U.S. citizens or resident aliens (Green Card holders) living abroad must pay U.S. income tax on their worldwide income. The rules for filing tax returns, paying estimated taxes, or estate taxes are generally the same whether you are in the U.S. or abroad. Keep in mind that some of the steps you take, including where and when to file, may be different.
Tax Filing Information for Nonresidents in the U.S.
If you are not a permanent resident, you will need to follow special rules to complete your return. Foreign nationals who cannot get a Social Security number (SSN) need to apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). This identification number is used for returns, statements, and other tax-related documents.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began accepting and processing federal tax returns for tax year 2017 on January 29, 2018. The deadline to file federal taxes was April 18, 2018, unless you filed for an extension.
Federal and state taxes usually have the same filing deadlines. Find out the tax filing due dates in your state. If you do not file and pay your taxes on time, you will be charged interest and a late payment penalty. For taxpayers due a refund, there is no penalty for filing a late return.
If you are unable to file your federal income tax return by the due date, you may be able to get an extension from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This does not grant you more time to pay your taxes.
The Wage and Tax Statement, known as a W-2 form, is an important document to have at tax time. This form shows the income you earned for the year and the taxes withheld from those earnings. If you have had several jobs over the year, you may have several W-2 forms to file your tax return. Employers must send you your W-2 by January 31 for the earnings from the previous calendar year of work.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides mailing addresses for tax returns, non-return forms, applications, and payments. The correct mailing address to use depends on the purpose of contact and the region of the country you are in: