Taxpayers can avoid processing delays and refund adjustments following these tips

IRS Tax Tip 2023-46, April 6, 2023

Taxpayers can avoid common errors on their federal tax returns and get their refund sooner by ensuring their tax return is complete, accurate and error-free. They should follow the tips below for a smoother filing process.

Gather all tax documents

Taxpayers should gather all documents to support tax deductions and credits, like education credits or mortgage interest payments. Taxpayers should also have their Forms W-2, 1099 and prior-year tax return available; they may need them.

File electronically

Filing electronically through IRS Free File or other e-file service provider helps reduce math errors and identifies potential tax credits or deductions the taxpayer may be eligible to claim. Filing electronically and choosing direct deposit is a fast and secure way for taxpayers to receive a refund.

Report all taxable income 

Most income is taxable. Under-reporting income may lead to penalties and interest. Income may include unemployment incomeinterest received and income from the gig economyservice industry and digital assets. Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, has more information.

Request an extension, if needed

Taxpayers who need more time to file can easily request a six-month filing extension to Oct.16 to prevent late filing penalties. Use IRS Free File or visit to file for an extension by April 18. While an extension grants additional time to file, tax payments are still due on April 18 for most taxpayers.

Taxpayers can also request an extension by paying all or part of their estimated income tax due and indicating that the payment is for an extension. They can do this using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or a debit or credit card or digital wallet. This way taxpayers don't have to file a separate extension form and will receive a confirmation number for their records.

Mail paper returns to the right address

Taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to file electronically if possible. Those who need to file a paper tax return should confirm the correct address of where to file on or on Form 1040 instructions to avoid processing delays.

Keep a copy of the tax return

When ready to file, taxpayers should make a copy of their signed return and any schedules for their records. Copies help them prepare future tax returns and make math computations if they need to file an amended return. Generally, taxpayers must keep their records that support an item of income, deduction or credit shown on their tax return until the period of limitations for that tax return ends.

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