It's mid-January and some of you happy tax-paying citizens have already started receiving your W-4s and 1099s in the mail. But before you start filling out your 2010 Federal Tax Return, make sure you're hip to all the tax tricks in 2011. You could end up saving some money!
Below are some helpful videos for individual tax payers and business owners, straight from the Internal Revenue Service. Learn whether or not you need to file a Federal Tax Return, how to choose a tax preparer, how to file for free, and some great tax tips on savings bonds and energy credits.
For all of the necessary tax forms and publications, visit the IRS Forms & Publications webpage, where you can download and print PDF versions of all the forms, including Form 1040, 1099 Forms, Form 1098 and more! If you need to file it, they have it. Plus, it's easy to search for what you need!
Step 1 Do You Have to File a 2010 Tax Return?
Do you have to file taxes? It's the question everybody wants to know. In this video, the IRS tells you about the requirements for filing a tax return, including income limits and age, and why you may want to file even if you don't have to file.
Step 2 Getting Free Tax Help & Advice from the IRS
If you need answers to common questions, want help preparing your tax return, or want to sit down and talk to someone, the IRS can help you out.
Step 3 Choosing a Tax Preparer in 2011
Are you not as tax-wise as you'd like to be? Want to maximize your refund? Then hiring a professional tax preparer is probably a good idea, but how do you pick a reputable one? The IRS serves up some quick tips for helping you choose.
Step 4 File Your Taxes with Free-File from the IRS
Want to save money and frustration this year when filing your taxes? Using the IRS Free File system provides a less taxing way to prepare and e-file your federal taxes. They provide you with free and sophisticated tax software, which does most of the hard work for you. And the best part— it's FREE! Go the Free File website after January 14th, 2011 to start filing.
Step 5 Part-Time & Summer Jobs ARE Taxable
Are you a student in college? Then, listen up, because all that money you made at your part-time job or summer job is indeed taxable. If you filled out a withholding allowance certificate (W-4), then you need to report it. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator to help you figure out if you need to give your employer a new Form W-4.
Step 6 Do You Have to Report Mortgage Debt Forgiveness as Income?
If you're a homeowner and your mortgage debt has been partly or entirely forgiven, you may be able to exclude the forgiven debt on your 2010 taxes. Normally, any forgiven debt given by your lender must be reported as income on your tax return, but because of special tax relief program, in general, you won't have to report mortgage debt as income that was forgiven or reduced. You'll need to fill out Form 982 to qualify. Watch to learn more!
Step 7 Energy Credits from the 2009 Recovery Act
Energy credits from the 2009 Recovery Act are still available for taxpayers in 2010. Those who make qualified energy improvements to their main homes this year may get a tax benefit when filing in 2011. Find out more information at the IRS Recovery page.
Step 8 Investing in U.S. Savings Bond with Your Tax Refund
Did you know that you can choose to purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I savings bonds with you federal tax return? Well, you can! Instead of taking the dough, you can take the investment, and not just for you, but for others as well.
Step 9 Paying Your Taxes with an Online Payment Agreement
Paying your taxes in full and on time makes sure you avoid any unnecessary interest, but if you can't pay the full amount, there's something that can help— a Payment Agreement between you and the IRS. AND, if you owe $25,000 or less in individual income taxes and can pay the full amount within 60 months, you can set up an Online Payment Agreement, right from the comfort of your computer.
Step 10 Do You Have an Undelivered Tax Refund from 2009?
Missing a tax refund from a previous year? It may have been undelivered. Watch this to find out the reasons an IRS refund check goes undelivered, how to correct the problem and how to find out if you're on the list.
To see if you have a missing refund, visit Where's My Refund. And this year, set up direct deposit to make sure yours doesn't get lost in the mail, due to a change of address.
Step 11 Getting a Employer Identification Number (EID)
If you own a small business, find out how to apply for an employer identification number on IRS.gov.
Step 12 The Small Employer Health Care Tax Credit Update
Are you a small employer? Either a for-profit business or tax-exempt group who provides health insurance coverage to their employees? Well, you may qualify for a special tax credit. Listen up.
Step 13 Watch IRS Live
If you're a small business owner, you may benefit from watching IRS Live, which is a free tax webinar streamed live each month.
Step 14 Getting a PTIN: Preparer Tax Identification Number
If you're a tax preparer who gets paid, starting January 1st, 2011, you will need a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) for all federal tax returns you file. Watch this video to learn how to acquire one, or go to IRS Tax Pros for more information.