Hi, I’m Patrick and I work for the IRS. If this is your first time filing a federal tax return, it may seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Especially if you use IRS Free File. With Free File, you could get access to tax preparation software and electronic filing, free of charge, through a partnership between the IRS and tax software companies. To get started, visit IRS.gov/freefile to see a list of choices. Now, you probably received forms such as the W-2 or 1099 or both. Tax software, like Free File, will prompt you to enter the information from these forms to complete your tax return. If you’re a student, the software will ask you to enter tuition and fees information from forms like the 1098-T and then see if you’re eligible for any tax benefits. Free File is offered exclusively through the IRS website. The great thing about Free File is it will do the math for you. It will help you avoid errors. And it will find all the credits and deductions you’re eligible for. On the other hand, if you would like to have an IRS-trained volunteer help you prepare and e-file your tax return, check out the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Go to IRS.gov/vita to see if you qualify and to find the location of a VITA site near you. If you want to hire a tax professional to complete your tax return, make sure you pick someone you can trust. You are responsible for the information on your tax return no matter who files it for you. You can search tips for choosing a tax professional and avoiding return preparer scams at IRS.gov/chooseataxpro. No matter which method you choose to prepare your tax return, e-file is the best way to file an accurate tax return. And combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. You can check the status of your refund by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at IRS.gov or IRS2Go mobile app. If, on the other hand, you owe additional taxes when you file, you can make a payment using IRS Direct Pay. Go to IRS.gov/payments. Pay what you owe by the April deadline to avoid penalties and interest. And while you can get an automatic six-month extension to file your tax return if you need more time, this is not an extension to pay any taxes you owe. Finally, remember to protect your sensitive personal financial data and beware of tax scams. If the IRS needs to contact you after you file your tax return, you will probably receive a notice in the mail first. Scam artists often impersonate the IRS by phone, email and social media to try to steal information such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers or credit card numbers. Be careful, and get to know all the resources available to you at IRS.gov.