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To the Editor:
Income tax filing season has begun, and important tax documents should soon arrive in the mail.  Returns aren’t due until April, but getting an early start will make filing easier.  Here are some tips to make the process run smoothly.

Round up documents you’ll need when filing your taxes – receipts, canceled checks, etc., to support deductions and credits you’ll claim on your return.  If you’ve not received copies of W-2s and 1099s by Jan. 31, contact your employer or retirement fund agency.  Follow-up with the IRS for further assistance after Feb. 14.

Weigh filing options carefully.  You can prepare your return yourself, or go to a tax preparer.  Low-income, elderly and military may receive free tax filing help from trained community volunteers statewide.  Free, face-to-face filing help is available for those with incomes under $49,000 at IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers.

File electronically.  IRS e-file is the safe, quick, easy way to file.  If you owe, e-file enables you to file immediately and pay by the tax deadline.  If you’re due a refund, opt for direct deposit and receive your refund in as few as 10 days.  Free brand-name tax software is available to taxpayers earning $58,000 or less, and others can access Free Filable Forms (electronic versions of IRS paper forms), at www.IRS.gov/freefile.

Before filing, review your return.  Double-check all the Social Security numbers and math calculations, as these are the most common errors.  Mistakes slow down the processing of your return.

If you run into a problem – don’t panic.  The IRS can help.  Answers to many questions and additional tax tips can be found online at www.IRS.gov.  Or, call toll-free to 800-829-1040 (800-TAX-1040).  With planning and preparation, you can make this year’s tax filing the easiest yet. 

Jennifer Jenkins
IRS Media Relations for Ohio
Columbus, OH 

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