File electronically: Most taxpayers file electronically, according to the IRS. The federal government reports it has processed more than 1 billion individual tax returns safely and securely since the nationwide debut of electronic filing in 1990. In fact, 112 million people — 77 percent of all individual taxpayers — used IRS e-file last year.
Check the identification numbers: Carefully check identification numbers — usually Social Security numbers — for each person listed. This includes you, your spouse, dependents and persons listed in relation to claims for the Child and Dependent Care Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit. Missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.
Double-check your figures: If you are filing a paper return, double-check that you have correctly figured the refund or balance due.
Check the tax tables: If you e-file, the software will do this for you. If you are using Free File Fillable Forms or a paper return, double-check that you used the right figure from the tax table for your filing status.
Sign your form: You must sign and date your return. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even if only one had income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign it and enter their Preparer Tax Identification Number.
Send your return to the correct address: If you are mailing a return, find the correct mailing address at www.irs.gov. Click the “Individuals” tab and the “Where to File” link under “IRS Resources” on the left side. Be sure to have your return to your post office by closing time or in the blue drop-off box in front of your local post office before the last indicated pick-up time. In Reno and Sparks, post offices are not open for extended hours.
Pay electronically: You can authorize an electronic funds withdrawal, or use a credit or a debit card. For more information on electronic payment options, visit www.irs.gov.
Follow instructions when mailing a payment: People sending a payment should make the check payable to the “United States Treasury” and should enclose it with, but not attach it to, the tax return or the Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, if used. The check should include the Social Security number of the person listed first on the return, daytime phone number, the tax year and the type of form filed.
File or request an extension to file on time: By today, you should either file a return or request an extension of time to file.
Visit IRS.gov: Forms, publications and helpful information on a variety of tax subjects are available at www.irs.gov.
The IRS allows taxpayers to file an extension on their paperwork, but there is no extension to pay if tax is owed. To do this, submit Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or file for the extension using tax preparation software or using Free File on the IRS website.
The government encourages people to file their return on time and pay as much as they can. If a taxpayer cannot pay their entire balance due, they can apply for a payment plan using the online payment agreement application at www.irs.gov or by filing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, with their return.
Anyone who owes the government money but does not pay by midnight tonight will owe interest and any applicable penalties.
Anyone who asks for an extension via one of the electronic methods can pay any expected balance due by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal from a checking or savings account. This requires the appropriate bank routing and account numbers. For information about these and other methods of payment, visit www.irs.gov or call 800-TAX-1040 (800-829-1040).