Should You Staple Your Tax Returns? What You Need To Know

According to the department of treasury, you don’t need to staple your documents when you file your tax returns.

The Department Of Treasury Receives 1 Million Mails Every Year

So, for every staple used on any document, mail operations staff will have to remove and recondition the document before scanning and processing it.

Adding staples to your document is regarded as a time-wasting activity that slows down the tax return process.

You’re advised to stop stapling your documents henceforth.

On the contrary, you can use paper clips, binder clips or rubber bands to fasten your tax documents together.

You should only use staples if your tax form instructs you to do so.Three ways to file your taxes

Taxes are filed every year, and there are three methods of filing tax returns.

So, you must know these three methods so you can choose what’s best for you.

Electronic Filing (E-file)

The internal revenue service (IRS) reports that U.S. citizens electronically filed an estimated 126 million tax returns for 2017.

There’re many benefits attached to the E-filling system.

With the E-filling system, you can get faster refunds. Furthermore, E-filing apps help to ensure accuracy and correctness by automatically checking for errors.

Tax Preparers – Going Professional

The United States federal tax code is very complex, with over 74,000 pages long. It’s no surprise that many U.S. taxpayers prefer to hire a tax preparer to help them.

A tax preparer is any Tax professional that possesses an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) that authorizes him to prepare federal tax returns for people.

Any tax professional with a PTIN can represent you on audits, appeals and payment/collection issues.

Also, bear in mind that if your preparer files ten or more tax returns in a year, the IRS instructs that he should file your tax returns electronically.

Paper Returns

A paper tax return is a traditional method of filing tax returns. However, thanks to technology, many people have migrated to the E-filling system.

If you filed an accurate and complete paper tax return, you should get your refund between six to eight weeks from the date the IRS received your return.

Here are some instances where you can submit your tax returns by mail

You’re submitting a tax return such as a multiple support agreement that can’t be filed electronically

You’ve filed your tax return before or after the E-file window

You’re claiming a dependent already claimed by another person

You’re married and living in a community property state and filing a separate return

Do I need To File Taxes?

Whether you should file a tax return or not is dependent on a few factors, which include;

  • Age
  • Income
  • Tax filing status
  • Etc.

By filing your taxes, you can be eligible for a tax break to generate a tax refund for you.

You can consider filing your tax returns if the following apply to you;

  • You’re eligible for specific tax credits
  • Your employer deducted income tax from your paycheck
  • The IRS estimated your tax payments or last year’s refund was added to this year’s estimated tax.

Complete Our 10-Point Tax Return Checklist Before Your File Your Tax Return

You’ve finished filling your tax form, and you’re ready to hit the send button or send it via mail.

However, before you do that, you need to do one last review to ensure everything is set up for success.

If you used tax preparation software to file your forms, the software could help you detect a few errors here and there.

On the other hand, if you’re among those still sending paper forms, you need to pay attention to your taxes.

It doesn’t matter what method you used in filing your taxes; anyone can make a mistake, especially when you’re in haste to finish early.

If you file a wrong status, you could get cheated out of your tax savings.

The same way an incorrect or missing social security number can increase your tax bill and nullify your credit.

Furthermore, if you forget to add an attachment, it will surely slow the tax return process, which means your refund will be delayed.

Here’s our checklist to ensure that your paperwork is free from errors

Fill Out Your Data

Before introducing the e-filing tax preparation system, the IRS usually sent pre-printed filing packages that include taxpayer’s names and addresses.

However, to reduce operational costs, the IRS abolished that system, and we welcomed the introduction of generic forms and paper filers.

In the form, you’re expected to enter your name (and that of your spouse if you’re filing a tax return as a married couple) and address.

If your writing is not legible, IRS workers will find it challenging to enter your information into the agency’s database, thereby slowing the process.

Enter Your Social Security Number In The Appropriate Box As Instructed

If your social security number (SSN) is missing from the allotted box, the IRS won’t process your tax refund.

If you’re filing a joint return with your spouse, you should enter both tax identification numbers.

The space to input your SSN is at the right side of your name box, don’t miss it.

Check Only One Filing Status

You need to check only one filing status and ensure it is the status that offers you the most significant tax advantage.

W-2 wage statements

If you’re filing paper returns, you need to attach all available W-2 wage statements.

However, if you’re filing electronically, ensure you input the amounts in the forms into the program correctly.

So that you know, the IRS will compare the payment statements it got from your employer against the figure you entered in your 1040.

Count all allowable exemptions

For each dependent that you claim on your tax return, you’ll have an exemption, which is a particular amount you can deduct from your modified gross income.

The lower your generated income, the lesser tax the IRS will bill you.

Ensure to add the correct SSN of any dependents that you’ve listed because without it, the IRS could disallow your exemption.

Filing 1040 or 1040A

If you are filing 1040 or a 1040A, you need to ensure they are assembled in the proper order.

On each attachment, you’ll find a sequence number in the top right corner. Ensure the attachments are in numerical order and add them to your return.

Pay to treasury and not IRS

Do you owe tax? Ensure your money order or check is payable to the U.S. treasury and not the Internal Revenue Service.

The U.S. treasury department is the legitimate agency that receives our money. However, the IRS is a sister agency that helps with the collection.

Furthermore, ensure that your name, social security number, address and phone number is on the check.

Also, notify in the memo area that it’s payment for 2021 Form 1040, 1040EZ or 1040A.

Sign and date returns

If you’re filing a joint return, you and your spouse must sign, even if only one of you generated income.

Both signatures should be on E-filed returns and paper returns

You can sign with your identification number (PIN) for electronic filers, which is a unique five digits’ identifier that each taxpayer selects through their modified gross income.

Provide a phone number

Providing your phone number while filing your tax returns can expedite the process. If the IRS needs to contact you for any reason, it will be done without any hitch.

As a joint filer, you should enter your phone number or that of your spouse.

Confirm mailing address

Over the years, as the IRS consolidates and reorganizes its services, most of its return service and processing center locations have changed.

Check the back cover of your tax booklet for the mailing address and ensure your returns are sent to the correct destinations.

Additionally, there are several mailing addresses for various purposes, depending on what you want to do.

Are you paying your taxes or processing a tax refund?

Ensure you use the appropriate mailing address so the IRS can process tax returns faster.

What Happens If There Is A Mistake On My Returns?

If there is an error on your returns, you need to get it fixed as soon as possible.

To fix the error, you’ll need to file an amended tax return with the IRS. However, if you don’t fix the error, you’ll be charged interest and penalties.

Can I Refile My Taxes If I Forgot To Add Something?

Yes, you can refile your tax return if you forgot to add a piece of information. To get this done, you’ll need to file an amended tax return with Form 1040-X.

You can find Form 1040X on the Internal Revenue Service official website or you visit the nearest IRS local office.

Furthermore, if you don’t know how to file an amended tax return, hire a professional tax preparer to get it done for you.

Can I Go To Jail For Filing Incorrect Taxes?

No, you can’t be jailed for errors on your tax returns or if you file them incorrectly.

However, if you knowingly leave things that ought to be included out of your tax returns, the IRS can interpret that to be a fraudulent act and you could be sued.

In situations like this, the IRS will assess your intent to know if it was a mistake or an intentional action.

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