TIPS FOR TAX SEASON
The 5-Point Checklist:
1. File an accurate return and use e-file and direct deposit to avoid delays.
- Taxpayers should electronically file and choose direct deposit as soon as they have everything they need to file an accurate return. Taxpayers have many choices, including using a trusted tax professional. For those using e-file, the software helps individuals avoid mistakes by doing the math. It guides people through each section of their tax return using a question-and-answer format.
2. For an accurate return, collect all documents before preparing a tax return; make sure stimulus payment and advance Child Tax Credit information is accurate.
Advance CTC letter 6419: In late December 2021, and continuing into January, the IRS started sending letters to people who received advance CTC payments. The letter says, “2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) Payments” near the top and, “Letter 6419” on the bottom righthand side of the page. Here’s what people need to know:
- The letter contains important information that can help ensure the tax return is accurate.
- People who received advance CTC payments can also check the amount of the payments they received by using the CTC Update Portal available on IRS.gov.
- Eligible taxpayers who received advance Child Tax Credit payments should file a 2021 tax return to receive the second half of the credit. Eligible taxpayers who did not receive advance Child Tax Credit payments can claim the full credit by filing a tax return.
3. Avoid lengthy phone delays; use online resources before calling the IRS.
4. Waiting on a 2020 tax return to be processed? Special tip to help with e-filing a 2021 tax return:
In order to validate and successfully submit an electronically filed tax return to the IRS, taxpayers need their Adjusted Gross Income, or AGI, from their most recent tax return. For those waiting on their 2020 tax return to be processed, here’s a special tip to ensure the tax return is accepted by the IRS for processing. Make sure to enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year’s AGI on the 2021 tax return. For those who used a Non-Filer tool in 2021 to register for an advance Child Tax Credit or third Economic Impact Payment in 2021, they should enter $1 as their prior year AGI. Everyone else should enter their prior year’s AGI from last year’s return. Remember, if using the same tax preparation software as last year, this field will auto-populate.
5. Free resources are available to help taxpayers file.
During this challenging year, the IRS reminds taxpayers there are many options for free help, including many resources on gov. For those looking to avoid the delays with a paper tax return, IRS Free File is an option. With Free File, leading tax software providers make their online products available for free as part of a 20-year partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. This year, there are eight products in English and two in Spanish. IRS Free File is available to any person or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021. Qualified taxpayers can also find free one-on-one tax preparation help around the nation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.
Taxpayers can find answers to their tax questions from home using the IRS online tools and resources. These tools are easy to use and are available to taxpayers at any time. It is important to note that the IRS highly recommends that taxpayers use electronic entries to file their taxes.