3 Ways to file your taxes

E-file, paper or professional? How to do your taxes this year

Hands of two people reviewing  a paper tax return

Each year, the IRS receives more than 150 million returns from individual taxpayers. In 2015 more than 128 million taxpayers filed their taxes electronically – and that number continues to increase every year.1

E-file: going paperless

There are many benefits to electronic filing. E-filing can get you a faster refund, and e-filing apps can help ensure accuracy by automatically checking for errors or missing information.2

Tax preparers: going pro

With a complex federal tax code more than 74,000 pages long, it’s no wonder over half of U.S. taxpayers hire a professional to help them. If you go this route, check to ensure your preparer has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and find out their service fees up front.3 Also, keep in mind that if your tax preparer files 10 or more returns in a year, the IRS requires that your tax return be filed electronically.3

Paper returns: going traditional

Filing a paper return, it can take six to eight weeks to receive your return, but in some instances you must submit by mail:

• Living in a community property state and you are married, but filing a separate return.

• Claiming a dependent who has already been claimed by someone else.

• Submitting a tax form that cannot be e-filed (such as a multiple support agreement).

• Filing before or after the e-file window.

Keeping documents organized

Whether you file electronically or with paper, don’t wait ‘til the end of the year to keep track of your tax information. As the year progresses, file your tax information into three folders:

• Income (salary, dividends, interest, earnings, distributions, 1099s and W-2s).

• Expenses (charitable donations, mortgage statements, medical bills, childcare costs, utility bills and non-reimbursable employment-related costs).

• Investments (statements, purchases, sales, gains, losses, interest, dividends, cost bases, annual retirement plan contributions, 1099s and K-1 forms).4

Then you’ll be able to retrieve it easily, and preparing to file won’t be such a nightmare. And once you’re ready to file – electronically or on paper – always remember to sign your return.

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