IRS Tax Tip 2018-175, November 13, 2018

The IRS reminds taxpayers there are steps they can take now to make sure their tax filing experience goes smoothly next year. Taking these steps will also help them avoid surprises when they file next year.

To help get people the information they need, the IRS just updated a special page on IRS.gov with steps to take now for the 2019 tax filing season.

Check withholding – do a Paycheck Checkup soon

Since employees typically only have one or two pay dates left this year, checking withholding soon is especially important. Because of the many changes in the tax law, refunds may be different than prior years for some taxpayers. Some may even owe an unexpected tax bill when they file their 2018 tax return next year. To avoid these kind of surprises, taxpayers should do a Paycheck Checkup to help  them decide if they need to adjust their withholding or make estimated or more tax payments now.

Gather documents

The IRS urges all taxpayers to file a complete and accurate tax return by making sure they have all the needed documents before they file their return. This includes their 2017 tax return and:

  • Year-end Forms W-2 from employers,
  • Forms 1099 from banks and other payers and
  • Forms 1095-A from the Marketplace for those claiming the premium tax credit.

Taxpayers should confirm that each employer, bank or other payer has a current mailing address or email address. Typically, these forms start arriving by mail – or are available online – in January. Check them over carefully, and if any of the information shown is inaccurate, the taxpayer should contact the payer right away for a correction.

Taxpayers should keep a copy of any filed tax return and all supporting documents for at least three years. Also, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need the adjusted gross income amount from their 2017 return to properly e-file their 2018 return.

Choose e-file and direct deposit for a faster refund

Electronically filing a tax return is the most accurate way to prepare and file. Errors delay refunds, and the easiest way to avoid them is to e-file. Using tax preparation software is the best and simplest way to file a complete and accurate tax return. The software guides taxpayers through the process and does all the math. Combining direct deposit with electronic filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to get their refund. With direct deposit, a refund goes directly into a taxpayer’s bank account. They don’t need to worry about a lost, stolen or undeliverable refund check.

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