The IRS put out a warning to Americans: they are very busy this year, calling the demand on their phone lines at “record highs.” The ongoing pandemic, the so-called “great resignation” and the advanced Child Tax Credit program – to name just a few happenings – have stretched the agency quite thin. But the tax pros are offering some tips that will help us file accurately, avoid processing delays and receive a timely refund (if you’re getting one).
- Take advantage of the IRS’ online resources. It’s no secret that when you call the IRS, you’ll be on hold for a long time – many people have reported hold times that are hours long. You can find most of the information you may need on their website. If not utilizing a tax professional, you can file for free using the IRS’ Free File, as long as your gross income is $73,000 or less. The IRS teams up with leading tax software providers and makes their products available for free for those individuals, including Spanish-speaking options. If you know how to file, the IRS also has free fillable forms available for any income level.
- File electronically. By utilizing electronic filing and choosing direct deposit, you are positioning yourself for the quickest processing time. The IRS states, “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.” The IRS notes that for those waiting for their 2020 return to be processed, you should enter $0 for last year’s adjusted gross income. Solarity has a handy resource available in online banking to help you easily find your direct deposit details. Read more here. If you do prefer to receive a check in the mail, save yourself a trip to the branch by using the Solarity mobile app to deposit your check from the comfort of your kitchen table.
- Pay close attention to new forms for 2021. If you’re not already actively organizing your tax documents when tax season rolls around, you are not alone! It’s important to meticulously go through all your paperwork to ensure you have everything you need to file accurately. In addition to your W-2s, various 1099 forms and other income-related statements, be sure to include the Child Tax Credit (CTC) letter 6419 and Economic Impact Payment 6475. Eligible taxpayers who received the advanced CTC will receive the second half of the credit upon filing. Those who deferred can claim the full credit when they file. Consult your tax advisor for your specific information.
- Watch out for tax-related scams. Tax season is a fraudster’s favorite time of year. They use snail mail, telephone and email in hopes of getting their hands on your return. The IRS notes it uses the U.S. Postal Service to contact taxpayers and will never contact you via email, text message or on social media. The agency has a webpage dedicated to IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting and has an article entitled “How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.” It’s worth a read and a share.
- Check your work. The IRS notes that if a return is incomplete or contains an error, it could require further review, which may slow down the process and delay your refund. It’s worth a few extra minutes of your time to double-check your math, confirm you’ve completed all the required fields and verify you’ve included all supplemental forms and documents.
Here are some handy links to tips and other resources from the IRS:
- Top 5 things to remember when filing income tax returns in 2022
- Tax Law Questions
- Electronic filing options for individuals
- Top things all taxpayers need to remember when filing their 2021 tax return