Tax Topics for 2017-2018
We have selected a few of the most relevant topics from the IRS Tax Tips free email service.
IRS Warns of Tax Scams
Six Tips about Individual Shared Responsibility Payments
How to Determine if You Can Claim the Premium Tax Credit
Ways to Pay Your Tax Bill
Older (but still relevant) Tax Topics
- Be vigilant of any unexpected communication purportedly from the IRS at the start of tax season.
- Don’t fall for phone and phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure. Thieves often pose as the IRS using a bogus refund scheme or warnings to pay past-due taxes.
- The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of e-communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
- The IRS doesn’t ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential information for credit card, bank or other accounts.
- If you get an unexpected email, don’t open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about how to report phishing scams involving the IRS visit the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.
Here are several steps you can take to help protect yourself against scams and identity theft:
- Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
- Don’t give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
- Protect your financial information.
- Check your credit report every 12 months.
- Secure personal information in your home.
- Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.
- Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact and are sure of the recipient.
- Be careful when you choose a tax preparer. Most preparers provide excellent service, but there are a few who are unscrupulous. Refer to Tips to Help you Choose a Tax Preparer for more details.
Other ways to report tax scams:
Use the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web form or call: 800-366-4484.
IRS YouTube Videos:
- Tax Scams – English
- IRS Efforts on Identity Theft – English
- Are You a Victim of Identity Theft? – English | Spanish | ASL
- Protect Yourself From Identity Theft – English | Spanish | ASL
NOTE: This topic includes both rules for making the payment (if you don't have health insurance) and rules about who is "exempt" (does not have to pay). Many people with very low incomes and people with certain immigrant statuses do not have to pay.
For any month during the year that you or any of your family members don’t have minimum essential coverage and don’t qualify for a coverage exemption, you are required to make an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your tax return.
Here are six things to know about this payment:
- You are not required to make a payment if you had coverage or qualify for an exemption for each month of the year.
- If you did not have coverage and your income was below the tax filing threshold for your filing status, you qualify for a coverage exemption and you should not make a payment.
- If you are not a U.S. citizen or national, and are not lawfully present in the United States, you are exempt from the individual shared responsibility provision and do not need to make a payment. For this purpose, an immigrant with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status is considered not lawfully present and therefore is exempt. You may qualify for this exemption even if you have a social security number.
- If you are responsible for the individual shared responsibility payment, you should pay it with your tax return or in response to a letter from the IRS requesting payment. You should not make the payment directly to any individual or return preparer.
- The amount due is reported on Form 1040 in the Other Taxes section, and in the corresponding sections of Form 1040A and 1040EZ. You only make a payment for the months you or your dependents did not have coverage or qualify for a coverage exemption.
In most cases, the shared responsibility payment reduces your refund. If you are not claiming a refund, the payment will increase the amount you owe on your tax return.
To learn more, visit the Reporting and Calculating the Payment page on IRS.gov/aca, or use our interactive tax assistant tool, Am I Eligible for a Coverage Exemption or Required to Make an Individual Shared Responsibility Payment?
The premium tax credit is a credit for certain people who enroll, or whose family member enrolls, in a qualified health plan offered through a Marketplace. Claiming the premium tax credit may increase your refund or lower the amount of tax that you would otherwise owe.
If you did not get advance credit payments in 2015, you can claim the full benefit of the premium tax credit that you are allowed when you file your tax return. You must file Form 8962 to claim the PTC on your tax return.
You can take the PTC for 2015 if you meet all of these conditions.
For at least one month of the year, all of the following were true:
- An individual in your tax family was enrolled in a qualified health plan offered through the Marketplace.
- The individual was not eligible for minimum essential coverage, other than coverage in the individual market.
- The portion of the enrollment premiums for the month for which you are responsible was paid by the due date of your tax return.
To be an applicable taxpayer, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- For 2015, your household income is at least 100 percent but no more than 400 percent of the Federal poverty line for your family size.
- No one can claim you as a dependent on a tax return for 2015.
- If you were married at the end of 2015, you must generally file a joint return. However, filing a separate return from your spouse will not disqualify you from being an applicable taxpayer if you meet certain requirements.
Individuals can use the Premium Tax Credit Flow Chart to determine if they are eligible for the credit. Answer the yes-or-no questions in the chart – or via the accessible text – and follow the arrows to find out if you may be eligible for the premium tax credit. You can also use our interactive tool, Am I eligible to claim the Premium Tax Credit? to find out if you are eligible.
If you received the benefit of advance credit payments in 2015, you must file a tax return to reconcile the amount of advance credit payments made on your behalf with the amount of your actual premium tax credit. You must file an income tax return for this purpose even if you are otherwise not required to file a return. You’ll file Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, with your tax return to reconcile the credit.
If you owe federal tax, the IRS offers many easy ways to pay. Make sure you pay by the April 18 deadline, even if you get an extension of time to file your 2015 tax return. You can get an automatic extension of time to file when you make an electronic payment by April 18. Here are some of the ways to pay your tax:
- Use Direct Pay. IRS Direct Pay offers taxpayers a free, secure and easy way to pay. You can schedule a payment in advance to pay your tax directly from your checking or savings account. You don’t need to register, write a check or find a mailbox. Direct Pay gives you instant confirmation after you make a payment.
- Pay by Debit or Credit Card. Choose a payment processor to make a tax payment online, by phone or by mobile device. It’s safe and secure. The payment processor will charge a processing fee. The fees vary by service provider and may be tax deductible. No part of the fee goes to the IRS.
- Use IRS2Go. IRS2Go is a free app that you can use to make a payment with Direct Pay and by debit or credit card. Simply download IRS2Go from Google Play, the Apple App Store or Amazon.
- Pay When You E-file. If you file your federal tax return electronically, you can schedule a payment at the time that you file. You can pay directly from your bank account using Electronic Funds Withdrawal. You choose the date and amount of the payment, and as long as it is on or before April 18, it will be on time. Some software that you use to e-file also allows you to pay by debit or credit card with a processing fee.
- Choose Other Options to Pay. The IRS offers other ways to pay:
- Use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System to pay your taxes online or by phone. This free system provides security, ease and accuracy. To enroll or for more information, call 888-555-4477 or visit EFTPS.gov.
- Pay by Check or Money Order. Make the check, money order or cashier’s check payable to the U.S. Treasury. Do not staple, clip or attach your payment to the tax form. Include your name, address, daytime phone number and Social Security number or Employer Identification Number on the front of the payment. Use the SSN shown first if it's a joint return. Also include the tax year and related tax form or notice number. Do not send cash through the mail.
- Can’t Pay Now? If you are unable to pay in full, you have options:
- Apply for an online payment agreement to pay your tax liability over time. Use the IRS.gov tool to set up a direct debit installment agreement. With a direct debit plan there is no need to write a check and mail it each month.
- Owe more than you can afford? An offer in compromise may allow you to settle for less than the full amount you owe. It may be an option for you if you can't pay your full tax liability. It may also be an option if paying in full creates a financial hardship. Not everyone qualifies. Use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool to see if you are eligible for an OIC.
In short, remember to pay your tax bill on time. If you are suffering a financial hardship, the IRS is willing to work with you.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
IRS YouTube Video:
Free Tax Preparation
Top 10 Teps to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer
Earned Income Tax Credit
Report Name Change before You File
Tax Savers for Parents
Choosing the Right Filing Status
Child Tax Credit
Five Facts about Unemployment Benefits
Are Your Social Security Benefits Taxable?
Eight Common Mistakes to Avoid
Each year millions of people have their tax returns prepared for free by volunteers. These volunteers are part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs.
Here are the top 10 tips the IRS wants you to know about VITA and TCE:
- The IRS sponsors both the VITA and TCE programs. They work with local community groups to both train and certify volunteers.
- The VITA program generally offers free tax return preparation and e-filing to people who earn $54,000 or less.
- The TCE program offers help mainly to people age 60 or older. Volunteers specialize in tax issues unique to seniors. AARP is part of the TCE program and helps taxpayers with low to moderate incomes.
- VITA and TCE provide free electronic filing. An e-filed tax return is the safest and most accurate way to file. Using e-file combined with direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund.
- Using VITA and TCE may help ensure you get all the tax credits and deductions you’re able to claim. For example, credits that you may qualify for include the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the Credit for the Elderly.
- Some sites provide bilingual help for people who speak limited English.
- VITA provides free tax assistance to military members and their families. Volunteers help with tax issues related to the military. These include special rules and tax benefits for those serving in combat zones.
- At some VITA sites, you can also prepare your own federal and state tax returns using free web-based software. This is an option if you don’t need much help or don’t have a home computer. Volunteers are on site to guide you if you need help. The self-preparation options generally offer free tax return preparation software and e-filing to people who earn $62,000 or less.
- For more than 40 years, the IRS has partnered with nonprofit and community organizations to offer these vital services. Thousands of VITA and TCE sites around the nation will open in late Jan. and early Feb.
- Visit IRS.gov to find the nearest VITA site. Search the word ’VITA’ and then click on "Free Tax Return Preparation for You by Volunteers." Site information is also available by calling the IRS at 800-906-9887. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, visit aarp.org, or call 888-227-7669.
Many people hire a professional when it’s time to file their tax return. If you pay someone to prepare your federal income tax return, the IRS urges you to choose that person wisely. Even if you don’t prepare your own return, you’re still legally responsible for what is on it.
Here are ten tips to keep in mind when choosing a tax preparer:
- Check the preparer’s qualifications: All paid tax preparers are required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number or PTIN. In addition to making sure they have a PTIN, ask the preparer if they belong to a professional organization and attend continuing education classes.
- Check the preparer’s history: Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the preparer has a questionable history. Check for disciplinary actions and for the status of their licenses. For certified public accountants, check with the state board of accountancy. For attorneys, check with the state bar association. For enrolled agents, check with the IRS Office of Enrollment.
- Ask about service fees: Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who say they can get larger refunds than others can. Always make sure any refund due is sent to you or deposited into your bank account. Taxpayers should not deposit their refund into a preparer’s bank account.
- Ask to e-file your return: Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file. Any paid preparer who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients generally must file the returns electronically. IRS has safely processed more than 1.2 billion e-filed tax returns.
- Make sure the preparer is available: Make sure you’ll be able to contact the tax preparer after you file your return - even after the April 15 due date. This may be helpful in the event questions come up about your tax return.
- Provide records and receipts: Good preparers will ask to see your records and receipts. They’ll ask you questions to determine your total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. Do not use a preparer who is willing to e-file your return using your last pay stub instead of your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
- Never sign a blank return: Don’t use a tax preparer that asks you to sign a blank tax form.
- Review your return before signing: Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions if something is not clear. Make sure you’re comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.
- Ensure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN: Paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.
- Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS: You can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If you suspect a return preparer filed or changed the return without your consent, you should also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. You can get these forms at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
For nearly 40 years, the Earned Income Tax Credit has been helping low- to moderate-income workers by giving them a boost to their income. Four out of five eligible workers claim EITC, but the IRS wants every eligible worker to claim and get this credit.
Here are some things the IRS wants you to know about this important credit:
Review your eligibility. If you worked and earned under $53,267, you may be eligible for EITC. If your financial or family situation has changed, you should review the EITC eligibility rules. You might qualify for EITC this year even if you didn’t in the past. Workers who qualify for EITC must file a federal income tax return and specifically claim the credit to get it, even if they do not have a requirement to file a return.
Know the rules. Before claiming EITC, you need to understand the rules to be sure you qualify. It’s important to get it and get it right. There are several factors to consider:
- Your filing status can’t be Married Filing Separately.
- You must have a valid Social Security number for yourself, your spouse if married, and any qualifying child listed on your tax return.
- You must have earned income. Earned income includes earnings such as wages, self-employment and farm income.
- You may be married or single, with or without children to qualify. If you don’t have children, you must also meet age, residency and dependency rules.
- If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone, special rules apply.
Lower your tax or get a refund. The EITC reduces your federal tax and could result in a refund. If you qualify, the credit could be worth up to $6,242. The average credit was over $2,400 last year.
Use free services. Don’t guess about your EITC eligibility. You can use IRS Free File. Free brand-name software will figure your taxes and EITC for you. Combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to get your refund. Free File is available exclusively on IRS.gov/freefile. Free help preparing and e-filing your return to claim your EITC is also available at thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites around the country.
Did you change your name last year? Did your dependent have a name change? If the answer to either question is yes, be sure to notify the Social Security Administration before you file your tax return with the IRS.
This is important because the name on your tax return must match SSA records. If they don’t, you’re likely to get a letter from the IRS about the mismatch. And if you expect a refund, this may delay when you’ll get it.
Be sure to contact SSA if:
- You got married or divorced and you changed your name.
- A dependent you claim had a name change. For example, this would apply if you adopted a child and that child’s last name changed.
File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, with the SSA to let them know about a name change. You can get the form on SSA.gov by calling 800-772-1213 or at an SSA office.
You can file Form SS-5 at an SSA office or by mail. Your new card will have the same SSN as before but will show your new name.
If you have an adopted child who does not have a SSN, use a temporary Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number on your tax form. You can apply for an ATIN by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions, with the IRS. Get the form on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Your children may help you qualify for valuable tax benefits. Here are eight tax benefits parents should look out for when filing their federal tax returns this year.
- Dependents. In most cases, you can claim your child as a dependent. This applies even if your child was born anytime in 2015. For more details, see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.
- Child Tax Credit. You may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit for each of your qualifying children under the age of 17 at the end of 2015. The maximum credit is $1,000 per child. If you get less than the full amount of the credit, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. For more about both credits, see the instructions for Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, and Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.
- Child and Dependent Care Credit. You may be able to claim this credit if you paid someone to care for one or more qualifying persons. Your dependent child or children under age 13 are among those who are qualified. You must have paid for care so you could work or look for work. For more, see Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
- Earned Income Tax Credit. If you worked but earned less than $53,267 last year, you may qualify for EITC. If you have three qualifying children, you may get up to $6,242 as EITC when you file and claim it on your tax return. Use the EITC Assistant tool at IRS.gov to find out if you qualify or see Publication 596, Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Adoption Credit. You may be able to claim a tax credit for certain expenses you paid to adopt a child. For details, see the instructions for Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.
- Higher education credits. If you paid for higher education for yourself or an immediate family member, you may qualify for either of two education tax credits. Both the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit may reduce the amount of tax you owe. If the American Opportunity Credit is more than the tax you owe, you could be eligible for a refund of up to $1,000. See Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.
- Student loan interest. You may be able to deduct interest you paid on a qualified student loan, even if you don’t itemize deductions on your tax return. For more information, see Publication 970.
Using the correct filing status is very important when you file your tax return. You need to use the right status because it affects how much you pay in taxes. It may even affect whether you must file a tax return.
When choosing a filing status, keep in mind that your marital status on Dec. 31 is your status for the whole year. If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that will result in the lowest tax.
- Note for same-sex married couples. New rules apply to you if you were legally married in a state or foreign country that recognizes same-sex marriage. You and your spouse generally must use a married filing status on your 2015 federal tax return. This is true even if you and your spouse now live in a state or foreign country that does not recognize same-sex marriage.. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Same-Sex Married Couples.
Here is a list of the five filing statuses to help you choose:
- Single. This status normally applies if you aren’t married or are divorced or legally separated under state law.
- Married Filing Jointly. A married couple can file one tax return together. If your spouse died in 2015, you usually can still file a joint return for that year.
- Married Filing Separately. A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns instead of one joint return. This status may be to your benefit if it results in less tax. You can also use it if you want to be responsible only for your own tax.
- Head of Household. This status normally applies if you are not married. You also must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying person. Some people choose this status by mistake. Be sure to check all the rules before you file.
- Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. If your spouse died during 2013 or 2014 and you have a dependent child, this status may apply. Certain other conditions also apply.
You can also find the rules on this topic in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. It’s available on IRS.gov or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). See irs.gov and the instructions for your tax return for more information.
If you have a child under age 17, the Child Tax Credit may save you money at tax time. Here are some key facts the IRS wants you to know about the credit.
- Amount. The non-refundable Child Tax Credit may help cut your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child you claim on your tax return.
- Qualifications. A child must pass seven tests to qualify for this credit:
- Age test. The child was under age 17 at the end of 2015.
- Relationship test. The child is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister. A child can also be a descendant of any of these persons. For example, your grandchild, niece or nephew will meet this test. Adopted children also qualify. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
- Support test. The child did not provide more than half of his or her own support for 2015.
- Dependent test. You claim the child as a dependent on your 2015 federal income tax return.
- Joint return test. A married child can’t file a joint return with their spouse they are filing jointly only to claim a tax refund.
- Citizenship test. The child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident alien. For more see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
- Residence test. In most cases, the child must have lived with you for more than half of 2015.
- Limitations. Your filing status and income may reduce or eliminate the credit.
- Additional Child Tax Credit. If you get less than the full Child Tax Credit, you may qualify for the refundable Additional Child Tax Credit. This means you could get a refund even if you owe no tax.
- Schedule 8812. If you qualify to claim the Child Tax Credit, make sure to check whether you must file Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, with your return. If you qualify to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit, you must complete and attach Schedule 8812.
- Interactive Tax Assistant Tool. You can use the ITA tool at IRS.gov to see if you can claim the credit. The tool can answer many of your tax questions.
For more on this topic see IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit, at IRS.gov. You can have it mailed by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
If you lose your job or your employer lays you off, you may be able to get unemployment benefits. The payments may be a welcomed relief. But you should know that they’re taxable.
Here are five important facts from the IRS about unemployment compensation:
- You must include all unemployment compensation in your income for the year. You should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments. It will show the amount paid to you and the amount of any federal income taxes withheld.
- There are several types of unemployment compensation. They generally include any amount received under an unemployment compensation law of the U.S. or a state. For more about the various types, see Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income.
- You must include benefits paid to you from regular union dues in your income. Different rules may apply if you contribute to a special union fund and those contributions are not deductible. In that case, only include as income any amount you get that is more than the contributions you made.
- You can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment. You make this choice using Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. If you do not choose to have tax withheld, you may have to make estimated tax payments during the year.
- If you are facing financial difficulties, you should visit IRS.gov. "What Ifs" for Struggling Taxpayers explains the tax effect of events such as the loss of a job. For example, if your income decreased, you may be eligible for some tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you owe federal taxes and can’t pay your bill, contact the IRS as soon as possible. In many cases, the IRS can take steps to help ease your financial burden.
For more details, see IRS Publications 17, Your Federal Income Tax, or IRS Publication 525. You can download these booklets and Form W-4V at IRS.gov. You may also order them by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Some people must pay taxes on part of their Social Security benefits. Others find that their benefits aren’t taxable. If you get Social Security, the IRS can help you determine if some of your benefits are taxable.
Here are seven tips about how Social Security affects your taxes:
- If you received these benefits in 2015, you should have received a Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, showing the amount.
- If Social Security was your only source of income in 2015, your benefits may not be taxable. You also may not need to file a federal income tax return.
- If you get income from other sources, then you may have to pay taxes on some of your benefits.
- Your income and filing status affect whether you must pay taxes on your Social Security.
- The best, and free, way to find out if your benefits are taxable is to use IRS Free File to prepare and e-file your tax return. If you made $62,000 or less, you can use Free File tax software. The software will figure the taxable benefits for you. If your income was more than $62,000 and you feel comfortable doing your own taxes, use Free File Fillable Forms. Free File is available only at IRS.gov/freefile.
- If you file a paper return, visit IRS.gov and use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to see if any of your benefits are taxable.
- A quick way to find out if any of your benefits may be taxable is to add one-half of your Social Security benefits to all your other income, including any tax-exempt interest. Next, compare this total to the base amounts below. If your total is more than the base amount for your filing status, then some of your benefits may be taxable. The three base amounts are:
- $25,000 - for single, head of household, qualifying widow or widower with a dependent child or married individuals filing separately who did not live with their spouse at any time during the year
- $32,000 -for married couples filing jointly
- $0 - for married persons filing separately who lived together at any time during the year
Additional IRS Resources:
- Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits
We all make mistakes. But if you make a mistake on your tax return, the IRS may need to contact you to correct it. That will delay your refund.
You can avoid most tax return errors by using IRS e-file. People who do their taxes on paper are about 20 times more likely to make an error than e-filers. IRS e-file is the most accurate way to file your tax return.
Here are eight common tax-filing errors to avoid:
- Wrong or missing Social Security numbers. Be sure you enter all SSNs on your tax return exactly as they are on the Social Security cards.
- Wrong names. Be sure you spell the names of everyone on your tax return exactly as they are on their Social Security cards.
- Filing status errors. Some people use the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help you choose the right one. Tax software helps e-filers choose.
- Math mistakes. Double-check your math. For example, be careful when you add or subtract or figure items on a form or worksheet. Tax preparation software does all the math for e-filers.
- Errors in figuring credits or deductions. Many filers make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the standard deduction. If you’re not e-filing, follow the instructions carefully when figuring credits and deductions. For example, if you’re age 65 or older or blind, be sure you claim the correct, higher standard deduction.
- Wrong bank account numbers. You should choose to get your refund by direct deposit. But it’s important that you use the right bank and account numbers on your return. The fastest and safest way to get a tax refund is to combine e-file with direct deposit.
- Forms not signed or dated. An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it’s not valid. Remember that both spouses must sign a joint return.
- Electronic filing PIN errors. When you e-file, you sign your return electronically with a Personal Identification Number. If you know last year’s e-file PIN, you can use that. If not, you’ll need to enter the Adjusted Gross Income from your originally-filed 2014 federal tax return. Don’t use the AGI amount from an amended 2014 return or a 2014 return that the IRS corrected.
Additional IRS Resources:
IRS YouTube Videos:
- Welcome to Free File – English
- Tax Return Errors – English | Spanish | ASL
- Free IRS Tax Help – English | Spanish | ASL
For information about how to save at tax time, see Tax Tips.
Updated March 2016