This is a high level step by step guide on how to prepare and efile a Federal IRS and/or State Income Tax Return. Use this tax return preparation checklist to plan and prepare for your online tax return on efile.com. It will assist you in gathering all the important tax records and documents you need to prepare and e-file your Federal and State Tax Returns faster and more accurately.
Collect necessary records, forms, and receipts throughout the Tax Year based on your income and expenses.
Have your 2017 Tax Year tax return handy. Collect W-2, 1099, 1098-T, etc.
Don't rush IT = Income Taxes. Most Income, Deduction Forms will arrive in your mail box and/or electronically by Jan. 31 for Tax Year 2018. Don't e-file earlier unless you are 100% certain you got all Forms.
Don't wait until the end of the Tax Year to assess your taxes. Plan in July and before the end of the year, December 31st.
Assess your tax withholdings throughout the year and factor in all your income (W-2, 1099, etc.).
Consider retirement plan options and contributions. It's never too early for that.
Know the expenses you can and cannot deduct on your tax return.
Find out if you actually have to file an income tax return.
Should you file yourself or as someone's dependent on your tax return?
Find out if you qualify as a dependent
on someone's return.
Are you a single student with a child or dependent?
Even you DON'T HAVE TO file a return, you still might WANT TO file a return for other reasons.
Estimate your tax refund or taxes owed before you start filing or e-filing your tax return.
Even if you can't pay for the taxes you might owe, you should either file a tax return or an extension by the due date (usually April 15). The not filing penalty is higher than the not paying penalty.
Review efile.com and IRS tax payments options on how to pay you taxes.
All the points listed above apply more or less to your state income taxes as well.
After you have e-filed your return, monitor your emails, check your efile.com account, and/or your tax refund status.
Make sure your tax refund will be directly deposited into your account or mailed to the address on your tax return.
Download your completed tax return from your efile.com account (under My Account) and keep it for your records. If you did not file your return on efile.com (or even if you did), you may obtain a free transcript of your return from the IRS.
Need to make a change to an efiled or filed return? You will need to complete and file an amended tax return.
Know what to do in case you get audited.