Steps to Take Now to Get a Jump on Your Taxes

Tax planning is for everyone. Get ready today to file your federal income tax return.

Take these actions to get ready:

  • Use the Tax Withholding Estimator to check if you have had the right amount of tax withheld from your paycheck, pension or other income. It will recommend how you should adjust your withholding for 2020 and provide detailed instructions to adjust your withholding with your employer(s) or pension provider(s).
  • Make estimated or additional tax payments if the tax withheld from your salary, pension or other income doesn’t cover the income tax that you’ll owe for 2020. Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals also has a worksheet to help you figure your estimated payments. Visit to explore payment options. 
  • Some taxable income is not subject to withholding including self-employment and gig economy income. If you have self-employment or gig economy income and also have income from a job you may want to adjust the amount of tax your employer withholds from your paycheck. If you have this type of income and also have income from a job where tax is withheld, you may want to adjust the amount of tax your employer withholds from your paycheck.

Combining direct deposit with electronic filing is the fastest way for you to get your refund. When your refund is deposited directly into your bank account, there’s no reason to worry about a lost, stolen or undeliverable refund check.

Different factors can affect your refund. Be careful not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. If you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, the IRS cannot issue refunds before mid-February. See for more information.

If you use an ITIN to file, make sure it hasn’t expired. Visit for more information.

Gather your records. Develop a recordkeeping system - electronic or paper - that keeps important information in one place. Add tax records to the files as you receive them. Having all the needed documents on hand before you start to prepare your return helps you file a complete and accurate tax return.

This includes year-end Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, other income documents, virtual currency transactions and Forms 1095-A from the Marketplace for those claiming the Premium Tax Credit. You should confirm that each employer, bank or other payer has your current mailing address. Typically, these forms start arriving by mail in January. Review them over carefully and, if any of the information shown is inaccurate, contact the payer right away for a correction.

View your account information to see information from your most recently filed tax return. Notify the IRS if your address changes and notify the Social Security Administration of a legal name change to avoid a delay in processing your tax return.

If you’re using the same tax software you used last year, you will not need to enter your prior year information to electronically sign your 2019 tax return. If you are using a software product for the first time, you will need your 2018 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to sign your return. Learn how to get your AGI, verify your identity and electronically sign your e-file return.

Start with for help that includes tools, filing options and other services and resources. Taxpayers increasingly use as their first resource for tax matters. Information in languages other than English is available under the Language tab on

Let us help you
Additional resources where you can get answers for various tax questions.

Taxpayer Assistance Centers
Call 844-545-5640 to make an appointment.

IRS Tax Volunteers
Learn to prepare taxes and make a difference in your community at the same time.

Publication 5348, Get Ready to File (PDF) PDF
Follow these tips to file your federal tax return.

Publication 5349, Year-round tax planning is for everyone (PDF) PDF
Guidelines to plan ahead for filing your taxes.

Publication 5136, IRS Services Guide (PDF) PDF
A listing of IRS services.