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Income Tax Filing Secrets for Speedy Returns


Chances are you’re either looking forward to getting it out of the way or dreading the process altogether. Regardless of which boat you’re in, don’t let this tax season be a burden. Keep reading to discover the easiest way to file your tax return, along with a few additional tips to help you as you prepare!

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IRS Free File

Offered through a partnership by the Internal Revenue Service and the Free File Alliance, you can prepare and safely file your returns electronically using the IRS Free File service. There are no income limitations for this service. If your annual income is below $60,000, you can use brand-name software to file. If you earned more, you can access free fillable forms. Once your return is completely filed, the refund processing is expedited and you’ll be able to track your refund directly on

In the event you run into a problem while filing your return, free assistance is available at select Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations. However, it’s important to note that you may incur a small fee to file your state return, unless you live in one of the seven states that don’t have a state income tax.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

Before you electronically file your return, you’ll need to gather some important information and documents, including:
• Your Social Security Number

• A copy of your 2013 tax return

• Your personal identification number (if you wish to use it instead of last year’s AGI to verify your identity)

• All W-2 and 1099 statements as well as any other income receipts

• Small business income receipts and expenses

• Social security, unemployment and other benefit statements

Please refer to the comprehensive list provided by the IRS if you’ve received additional documents.

Other Cost-Efficient Alternatives

If you make over $60,000 and are unfamiliar with using fillable forms to prepare and file your return, it’s best to seek professional assistance or use a software program. For example:

H&R Block logoH&R Block

You can either file in-person or select one of the following online options:
• H&R Block Basic for simple tax situations ($19.99)

• H&R Block Deluxe for homeowners or investors ($29.99)

• H&R Block Premium for self-employed individuals or rental property owners

H&R Block also offers MyBlock Mobile App, which is available on the iPhone or Android, and enables you to upload tax documents to your profile.

TurboTaxTurbo Tax

Users can select from one of the following options:
• Deluxe to maximize tax deductions ($34.99)

• Premier for investment and rental property owners ($54.99)

• Home & Business for small business owners or sole proprietors ($79.99)

Its website also has a quick assessment to help you select the product that best suits your needs.

Turbo Tax Mobile App, available on the iPhone and Android, allows users to take a photo of their W-2 so it can automatically fill out the proper tax forms. Once you confirm the accuracy of the contents, you can submit your return via your smartphone, tablet or computer.

It’s important to note that an additional fee applies to prepare and file state returns when using these programs.

Cheers to a stress-free tax season!