your tax return — February 15, 2014

Fast Answers for Speedy e-Filing

by Bob Williams

taxpayer's W-2

Ah, tax season. The tax returns are making their yearly migration to the IRS, and the deductions and credits are in full bloom.

And in the spirit of this annual transformation, we offer some helpful hints on how to help your e-file hit the mark – and not quack up in the process.

One of the best ways to ensure your return has an uneventful trip to Accepted is to know where to get answers when you have questions.

I Didn’t Get a W-2

Employers are required to send their employees a Form W-2, Statement of Earnings, by Jan. 31. If you haven’t gotten a W-2 from an employer by now, don’t wait. Contact that employer to make sure they have your correct address on file – and to jog their memory. If you can get the W-2 before you e-file, you’ll save yourself an amended return later. If the employer balks, or is uncooperative, you can actually call the IRS, who will send the employer a letter reminding them of their obligation to send the forms.

I Can’t Pay My Tax Bill

If you owe taxes, but can’t pay, the IRS offers you the option of an installment agreement, where you pay so much of your tax debt every week or month. For those taxpayers whose tax bill is more serious, the IRS has what’s called the Offer in Compromise. This allows the taxpayer to settle their tax liability for less than the full amount that’s owed. Both options are available on the IRS website.

What if I Have Tax Questions?

Wondering if you have to file a tax return? Not sure who to claim as a dependent? Your go-to resource for all questions taxish should be Publication 17, the definitive roadmap for income tax returns. You can also check out our handy Tax Guide for answers to many of the most common questions.

Where’s My Refund?

Since your refund comes from the Internal Revenue Service, they’re the best source for questions about the whereabouts of your refund after your return’s been accepted. Their Where’s My Refund? tool on the IRS website can often shed light on your situation. The IRS will issue most refunds in less than 21 days. The website is updated only once per day, so repeated visits probably won’t yield different information.

Speedy e-filing doesn’t always depend on knowing all the answers – sometimes, it’s knowing where to ask the questions. And that can mean a refund that comes home to roost in record time.

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