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4 Questions to Ask When Filing a Paper Tax Return

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Love the feeling of pen on paper? You’re not alone. Some taxpayers still prefer to file a paper tax return, even though the IRS encourages e-filing. In fact, the IRS just announced its plan to achieve paperless tax filing by 2025. And for the upcoming tax season, they’ll be launching new tools that will allow nearly all IRS correspondence to be uploaded rather than mailed to the agency.

But what if you prefer to do your taxes the old-fashioned way? No worries. The IRS will still accept paper tax returns. Just be sure to address the following questions before mailing in your tax forms.

1. “Do I need to file a tax return?”

If you are unsure of whether or not you’re required to file, be sure to use the ‘Do I Need to File a Tax Return?’ tool on the IRS’s website. You will need your filing status, federal income tax withheld, and basic information to help you determine your gross income. It takes approximately 12 minutes to go through all the steps, but it can save you time if you’re not required to file.

2. “What is my filing status?”

Your filing status can affect your standard deduction, eligibility for certain credits, tax liability, and filing requirements. If you are eligible to use more than one filing status, use the IRS ‘What Is My Filing Status?’ tool to determine which is more beneficial.

When you use this service, you will need your marital status and the percentage of the costs that your household members paid towards keeping up a home. If your spouse is deceased, you also need your spouse’s year of death.

3. “Where can I download tax forms?”

To obtain tax forms, including Form 1040, Form W-9, Form W-4, Form 9465, Form 8962, Form 941, and Form 1040-EZ, you can use the IRS Forms and Publications page. You can also download many of these from our Tax Form Library. IRS also provides prior year forms, instructions, and publications for download and print.

If you’re unable to find a certain tax form online, you may request the form(s) by postal mail. Quantities are limited to 20 copies for each form, and 5 copies for each instruction or publication booklet. If you need larger quantities, you must call 800-829-3676 to place your order.

4. “Where can I file a paper tax form?”

Depending upon the tax form you are filing and your state, the mailing address changes. If you are filing Forms 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-ES, 1040-V, amended returns, and extensions (also addresses for taxpayers in foreign countries, U.S. possessions, or with other international filing characteristics), you can use this IRS page to find the address for your form and state.

Filing by Mail? Be Patient

It’s important to note that filing a paper return by mail can take up to 6 months to process. If you’re waiting for a refund, please be patient. You can check the status of your refund online if it’s been at least 4 weeks since mailing your return. Refund checks can take several weeks or months to arrive, but you can expedite the process by using direct deposit. Of course, the fastest way to receive your tax refund is to e-file and request direct deposit. In most cases, you’ll have your refund in 2 weeks or less.

Need help filing your taxes this year? Contact Tax Defense Network for a free consultation and quote.