Filing Your Federal Taxes

Find out how to file your federal taxes, get an extension, and more.

Key Tax Tips

Find out the important factors to consider when doing your taxes.

This infographic explains the important factors to consider when doing your taxes.

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Key Tax Tips

Things to consider when filing your tax return include credits and deductions, filing options, sources of income, and more.

Getting married, buying a house, or other life events can affect your taxes. Learn the keys to doing your taxes:

Calculator with a Receipt Roll 

  • Receipt roll message: Stay on the alert for the latest scams and fraud, including tax ID theft, phishing emails, and dishonest tax professionals!
  • Calculator screen message: 1040.
  • Parentheses symbol (): Gather your tax forms and paperwork: 
    • W-2s and 1099 income, 1095-A for health insurance
    • Interest statements, receipts, mileage
  • Subtraction sign (-): Check for deductions and credits:
    • Charitable contributions, education and child care expenses
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • Addition sign (+): Add up your sources of income:
    • Salary, interest, investments, and retirement accounts
  • Division sign (÷): If you owe money, you may be able to divide the payments over time with an IRS installment agreement.
  • Help symbol (?): Get help from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.
  • Equal sign (=): Choose how to file your taxes:
    • Online (IRS Free File, paid software, or e-file provider)
    • Mailed paper return
    • Tax professional
  • Addition/subtraction sign (+/-): Do you owe money or get a refund?

Get more tax information at https://www.usa.gov/features/five-tips-for-a-smooth-tax-season

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File a Federal Income Tax Return

The government collects taxes to pay its bills and provide public goods and services. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the nation’s tax collection agency. 

The taxes you owe to the government are generally paid through withholding (money taken out of your paycheck), estimated tax payments, and payments made when you file your taxes each year. 

You may not have to file a federal income tax return if your income is below a certain amount. However, you must file a tax return to claim a refundable tax credit or a refund on income tax withheld.

If you have to file a tax return:

Tax Payment Information

There are several ways to pay your federal taxes: 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, you can check your federal tax refund status online or call the Refund Hotline. If you have questions about the status of your refund within the first 21 days after filing electronically, the IRS will direct you to the online Where's My Refund? tool.

You can choose to receive your tax refund by direct deposit, U.S. Series I Savings Bonds, or paper check.

Contact the IRS

For more information, contact the IRS.

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Extension to File Your Tax Return

Do you need more time to prepare your tax 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). But this does not grant you more time to pay your taxes.

You may be able to get an automatic six-month extension to file your return. To do so, you must file IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return by the due date for filing your calendar year return (usually April 15) or fiscal year return. For a Spanish version of this form, download IRS Form 4868sp.

Special rules may apply if you are:

  • Living outside the United States.
  • Out of the country when your six-month extension expires.
  • Living in a combat zone or a qualified hazardous area.

Get filing information about your tax return, including guidelines on extensions of time to file.

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1099 Income Statements

Businesses and government agencies use Form 1099 to report various types of income other than wages, salaries, and tips to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

Every business or agency must:

  • Complete a Form 1099 for each transaction.
  • Retain a copy for its records.
  • Send a copy to you and to the IRS. You should receive your copy by early February (or mid-to-late February for Form 1099-B).

You must include this income on your federal tax return.

Incorrect or Missing Form 1099

If you do not agree with the information contained in your Form 1099, contact the business or agency that issued it.

If you did not receive your Form 1099, contact the business or agency that should have issued it. 

Contact the IRS

If you requested Form 1099 from a business or agency and did not receive it, contact the IRS.

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Federal Tax Filing Season

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began accepting and processing federal tax returns for tax year 2016 on January 23, 2017. You have until April 18, 2017 to file your tax return unless you file for an extension.

Help and Resources

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Get Tax Forms and Publications

Federal Tax Forms

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the United States' tax agency, has free tax forms and publications on a wide variety of topics. You can get the tax forms and publications you need directly from the agency by downloading them online or ordering by phone. You can also get them from locations in your community, such as taxpayer assistance centers and libraries.

Visit the IRS's website to get tax forms and publications online, including multiple file formats, accessible products, and prior year revisions.

You can also download the tax forms and publications you need in accessible Braille or text format.

State Tax Forms

To file taxes in your state, or if you've moved and need the forms from your previous state of residence, download state tax forms and instructions.

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Get Your W-2 Before Tax Time

The Wage and Tax Statement, commonly 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.

If you were an employee and haven't received your W-2 by January 31 or the information is incorrect, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers some tips on what you can do. Employers that have questions about filing W-2 forms for your employees can check these resources on where, when, and how to file from the IRS.

For more information contact the Internal Revenue Service.

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IRS Mailing Addresses

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides mailing addresses for tax returns, non-return forms, applications, and payments. There are several mailing addresses; the correct one to use depends on the purpose of contact and the region of the country you are in:

You can also check a form's corresponding instructions for a mailing address. 

Contact the IRS

For more information, contact the IRS.

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