Everything you need to know about filing your income tax return this year


The tax deadline may have been extended until May 17, but depending on Stéphanie Ruhle, NBC News Senior Correspondent that doesn’t mean we get a free pass do our taxes. In fact, the sooner you can do them, the better. Ruhle shared his tips on how to do your taxes, starting with making sure you have all the forms and documents you need to get started.

When it comes to filing taxes, most of us need a Beginner’s Guide or an upgrade. In addition to your Social Security number or tax ID, you need to have certain documents to get started, Ruhle said. The first step is to put together your employment forms which might include:

1. W-2

This comes from employers and details what you earned as well as the income tax withheld from your paychecks. If you are working full time or part time, you will receive this form, probably in the mail.

2.1099 forms

This form declares income from sources outside of regular work. You’ll get a 1099 if you earn income as an entrepreneur or freelance writer, or if you earn money from things like rental real estate, investment interest, or a savings account.

3.form 1095

If you enrolled in an eligible health insurance plan through the Obamacare Insurance Market, you will also get a 1095 form.

4. Form 1098

This form shows all of the interest payments you have made on your student loans or mortgage.

If you don’t have these documents and can’t get them from your employer, contact the IRS for help, Ruhle advised. “The number is on their website. The IRS will then contact the employer / payer for you and ask for the missing or corrected form. The IRS will also send you a form and letter with instructions for you.”

If there are other forms missing, it could be because you signed up to go paperless. Go to your accounts online to search for them, Ruhle explained. For example, your online student loan interest statement will be available in your online account.

3 common tax questions – answers

Ruhle also answered some burning questions people have about filing income tax.

How to file electronically for free?

Ruhle said that if you make $ 72,000 or less, the IRS Free File lets you prepare and report your federal income tax online for free with additional guided preparation. If you earn more than $ 72,000, you can still use the IRS Free File forms, but you should know how to prepare your own tax return, as additional help is not offered here.

For small businesses, you can also go to IRS.gov to take advantage of their free Business E-file service. Individuals and small businesses can also use private tax software like TurboTax or TaxSlayer.

When to call a tax expert

It may be a good idea to hire a tax professional if:

  • You are self-employed.
  • You have experienced a major event in your life such as to buy a house.
  • You have had a child or have moved.
  • You own a rental property,
  • You are an active stock trader.

What if you need more time to deposit?

If you can’t meet current tax filing deadlines, request a six-month extension by submitting Form 4868 electronically or by mail. You can download this form from IRS.gov.

For more tips on how to get through tax season, visit On Money TODAY with Stephanie Ruhle.

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