21 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by yogurtinifairfax

Prepare Yourself: IRS Offers Tips On Getting Ready For Tax Time

This year's filing season begin on Jan. 31.

Prepare Yourself: IRS Offers Tips On Getting Ready For Tax Time
By Jane Lemons

You know tax season is just around the corner, so you might as well get yourself prepared.

The IRS has released a series of YouTube videos designed to help taxpayers prepare for the upcoming filing season, which  begins on Jan. 31. The channels — available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) — have received nearly 6.5 million views: 

Specific videos that taxpayers can use to help them get ready over the coming weeks — and get their refunds as easily as possible — include:

  • Do-It-Yourself Free Tax Preparation ─ Helps taxpayers find free help from certified volunteers to electronically file tax returns. Taxpayers interested in helping their own communities can also watch a video to learn about  becoming involved in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs.
  • Do I Have to File a Tax Return? ─ Learn about the requirements for filing a tax return, including income limits and age, and why taxpayers may want to file even if they don't have to.
  • How to Get 1040 Forms ─  Provides tips on the quickest way to get the various 1040 forms on IRS.gov.
  • Tax Scams ─  Offers some tips on how to protect personal information and avoid becoming the victim of a tax scam.
  • Record-keeping ─  Learn which financial and tax files to keep and how long to keep them.
  • Changed Your Name After Marriage or Divorce? ─  Find out what you need to do if you have changed your name before you file your tax return.
  • Choosing a Tax Preparer ─ Hear some useful tips for choosing a reputable tax preparer.

In addition to YouTube, the IRS uses  social media to share information on tax changes and other issues, including the IRS2Go phone app, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook. 

To protect taxpayer privacy, the IRS only shares public information on social media, and it doesn't answer personal tax questions. It advises taxpayers to never post confidential information, like a Social Security number, on social media sites. A  listing of the IRS social media tools is available on  IRS.gov. 

Many software companies are expected to begin accepting tax returns in January and hold those returns until the IRS systems open on Jan. 31. This includes the Free File partners that offer access to their software for free at  irs.gov/Free File

The IRS will not process any tax returns before Jan. 31, so there is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date. Taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file or Free File with the direct deposit option.

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