Tax season is almost upon us, which means thousands of people are turning to professionals, special software, or even just firing up Google® in order to get their tax questions answered.
But did you know one of the best resources around is the IRS website itself?
I know, I know—whenever someone mentions the IRS, people tend to wince. But even though we often like to think of the Internal Revenue Service as villains, their website is surprisingly user-friendly!
Here are some of the ways http://www.irs.gov can make getting through tax season just a little easier:
The Main Menu
At the top of the site is the main menu, where you will see the following links:
Filing: Click here to access a step-by-step guide on how to complete your tax return, how to properly submit forms, and other subjects related to filing your taxes.
Payments: This page allows you to directly pay whatever you owe to the IRS. It’s actually easy to use!
Refunds: Click here to track the status of your tax refund—always the most pleasant part of tax season!
Credits & Deductions: No one likes having to navigate our enormous, complicated tax code to find ways to save. This section makes it much easier to find out which credits and deductions you qualify for.
Help & Resources: Still have questions, or need help with a technical issue? This page contains answers to common problems—and the info on avoiding fraud and identity theft is especially valuable.
There are plenty of other resources available on http://www.irs.gov. For example:
Want to learn more about tax deadlines? Go to: https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/2017-taxfiling-season-opens-today
Want to update your filing status (for instance, if you have recently married or gotten divorced)?
These days, most people use tax software to help them fill out the correct forms. But should you ever need to download or study forms personally, just go here: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs
Taxes & Investing
You can also use http://www.irs.gov to:
- Learn more about Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).
- Learn more about 401(k)s.
- Learn how tax law affects these and other types of retirement plans.
For this, look in the upper-right corner of the IRS website. There you will see three links:
“Subscriptions,” “Language,” and “Information For…” Move your cursor over “Information For…” and click the Retirement Plans link in the resulting drop-down menu.
It may seem a little odd to receive an article about the IRS website, but it’s actually a very valuable tool! Of course, no website is a replacement for professional, qualified advice.
But as I like to say, “Even if you’re not a carpenter, you should still know how to use a hammer.”
Tax season is never much fun. But with just a little effort and proactivity, it doesn’t have to be difficult.