Tax tips you need to know before you file that return

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Tax season is upon us. There are lots of "what ifs" and other questions when it comes to filing your taxes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Tax season is upon us. There are lots of “what ifs” and other questions when it comes to filing your taxes.

Filing season begins Jan. 27, but you can actually start the process now by gathering your documents and beginning the process of filling out your tax return.

The deadline to file is April 15.

More than 150 million individual tax returns for the 2019 tax year are expected to be filed, with the majority of those coming before the April deadline.

That takes us to our first most commonly asked question: If you file your taxes early, will you get an early return? Not necessarily, but the earlier you file, the better chance you have of getting your return quicker. Electronic filing with direct deposit is the fastest way. Paper filers will have to wait longer. And of course, any errors will hold up your return.

While taxpayers may prepare returns through the IRS’ Free File program as well as many tax software companies and tax professionals before the start date, processing of those returns will begin after IRS systems open later this month.

“The IRS encourages everyone to consider filing electronically and choosing direct deposit,” Rettig said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “It’s fast, accurate and the best way to get your refund as quickly as possible.”

If you’re getting help with your taxes, be prepared and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s your money and your responsibility to file an accurate return.

The Ohio Department of Taxation says don’t be afraid to look at last year’s tax return and see if there were any areas that were stressful. That way, you won’t run into the same problems you may have had the year before.

“Keep your information secure and all in one place. That way, you have your documents in order. If you think it’s related to taxes, throw it in a folder throughout the year. Now is the time to get those documents together whether you think it is related or not, and if you’re not, call and ask a professional,” said Jessica Popio, financial expert with World Financial Group.

According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, most people should be able to file their own taxes.

If your household has an annual income of over $200,000 per year, made significant charitable contributions or had a major life-changing event such as a marriage or baby, then you should look into getting professional help.

That person should treat you personally and help you feel confident that all your concerns are being met, and check out their credentials.

Taxpayers can get free help preparing and filing taxes through IRS Free File online or free tax help from trained volunteers at community sites around the country. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they don’t have to wait until January 27 to start their tax return or contact a reputable tax preparer.

In addition, IRS tax help is available 24 hours a day on IRS.gov, the official IRS website, where people can find answers to tax questions and resolve tax issues online. The Let Us Help You page helps answer most tax questions, and the IRS Services Guide (PDF) links to these and other IRS services.

Typically, it takes about 11 hours of work to be prepared to file taxes for a typical family household. Single filers with no children take much less.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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