Among the things bureaucracies excel at is creating paperwork, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) excels at it, especially when it comes to tax forms. You can fill out and send in most of the paperwork for your federal tax return online, but you’ll also need to fill out some forms on paper or online to finish the process. The IRS frequently updates its forms, and you can file your tax returns online. We’ll explain how to locate and obtain the forms you need.
In 2023, the IRS begins accepting and processing 2022 tax returns on Monday, January 23, 2023.
What You Should Know
- On the IRS website, you can find tax forms in four different ways.
- If your browser crashes or you accidentally close it, saving an online form to your hard drive will prevent you from losing your entries.
- File online, as most people now do, and learn the safety measures to prevent identity theft.
- Filling out the forms can be made easier with free software.
- It is less likely that you will suffer from identity theft if you file early.
- Tax forms must be mailed or made available electronically by employers, financial institutions, and others by specific deadlines.
Using the IRS website to find tax forms
There are three ways to find tax forms on the IRS website:
- Visit IRS.gov.
- You can download forms by clicking on “Forms and Instructions” in the horizontal menu bar.
- Visit IRS.gov.
- To display the form, type its name into the search bar on the right side of the horizontal menu bar.
- Choose a search engine of your choice.
- Enter the name of the form you’re looking for, followed by “site:irs.gov.” For example, if you’re searching for form 1040, type “2021 form 1040 site:irs.gov.”.
You can also complete the required tax forms on your own or use tax prep software in order to ensure that you receive a legitimate tax form directly from the IRS website.
It is not necessary to download forms in advance if you are using tax preparation software.
As a result of the weekend and the fact that the District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day on April 17th, 2022 tax returns will be due April 18, 2023.
Changes in IRS tax forms
Many IRS forms need to be updated each year. Even if the form’s content doesn’t change, the form must state the current year so taxpayers are confident they are filing the correct paperwork and calculating the right tax amount. As a result of new laws, guidance, or corrections or clarifications, the IRS updates its forms.
There are several reasons why tax forms have changed, including legislation, such as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This legislation required the IRS to create new tax forms and schedules. Marginal tax rates, standard deductions, itemized deductions, and much more have been altered by it.
Forms to be completed online for tax purposes
For this year’s tax return, the government changed Form 1040 and the supplemental forms many taxpayers file along with it. Instead of Forms 1040, 1040-A, and 1040-EZ, there’s now Form 1040 for most filers, plus Form 1040-SR for seniors.
There is no need to file any other forms for taxpayers who take the standard deduction and have simple returns.
Form 1040 and some other common schedules and forms can be filled out online by the IRS. If your browser crashes or you accidentally close it, it’s better to download it first, then save it to your hard drive as you fill it out. In addition to signing the form and attaching any required forms (the W-2 is most common), you’ll mail it in after filling it out and printing it out.
You’ll need to pay for postage, and preferably one that can be tracked to prove you submitted your return on time. If you mail in your paper return, it usually takes six to eight weeks for it to be processed by the IRS. The IRS typically takes about three weeks to process a refund, although you can receive it sooner with direct deposit.
Additional schedules may be required for those who need to report information not included on Form 1040 (or 1040-SR). These may include the following:
- Itemized deductions on Schedule A
- Dividends and interest on Schedule B
- Profit or Loss from Business (Sole Proprietorship) Schedule C
- Capital Gains and Losses Schedule D
- Child Tax Credit Schedule 8812
Please see “Schedules for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR” for a complete list. You can fill out these schedules the same way as for Form 1040.
E-filing of tax forms
When I was a kid, April 15 used to be the worst day of the year to visit the post office. People stood in line in order to get their tax forms postmarked—proof they were mailed on time. To get a tracking number and proof of delivery, some people filled out special labels and paid a few extra bucks.
You never have to leave home to file your taxes electronically. The IRS and tax software companies offer electronic filing, also called “e-filing.”
How safe is it to file electronically?
Electronic filing is evidently appealing, but is it safe? Your tax filing contains some of the most sensitive information about you: where you live, your income, your dependents, your Social Security number, how much you spent on medical bills, and how much you made or lost from selling investments.
In terms of protecting your data while it is being transmitted and stored, can you trust the tax software companies and the government to have employed best-in-class security? In addition to being stored in the cloud, online tax software also puts your information at risk.
Therefore, some people prefer to download software to store their data only on their own computer. This makes them vulnerable to fewer data breaches.
Avoid these electronic pitfalls
Don’t complete your tax forms on a public computer or transmit your return over public WiFi if you file electronically.
Don’t transmit your tax returns over an unsecured coffee shop, airplane, or library network. Use a personal computer with antivirus and firewall software and a secure, password-protected private WiFi network, such as your home or work network.
There are vulnerabilities in paper returns as well
The safety of submitting your tax return by mail is also crucial. Paper returns are more susceptible to theft, loss, and error. Unfortunately, your private information is vulnerable regardless of how you do it.
According to the IRS, paper returns can take six months or longer to process. This could result in a delay in receiving a refund.
In many cases, amended returns can be filed electronically under certain circumstances. Some forms cannot be e-filed no matter how they are completed. For tax years 2019, 2020, and 2021, you may file Form 1040-X for amending Forms 1040 or 1040-SR. You can also file amended 1040-NRs and amended 1040-SS/PRs electronically.
Other than possible security risks, which may be outweighed by convenience and faster refunds, are there any other cons of filing your tax forms electronically?
Fees for filing tax forms
You can file your 2022 federal tax return for free if your income for the year 2022 was $73,000 or less. Many major publishers offer a wide range of tax software, including two Spanish-language programs, that you can use. To file your state return, you may have to pay a small fee.
Those who earn more than this income level will have to pay a fee to their tax preparation firm to fill out their state and federal returns. The IRS and state governments do not charge you a fee for e-filing your tax return.
You can also expect your tax preparer to pass on to you any e-file fees incurred by the professional tax software they use.
It is possible to file your return electronically or to print and mail your return if you use the IRS’ Free File fillable forms. You need to decide which forms to submit, what supporting information you need to include, and which documents you need to submit together with them.
Tax return preparation is most expensive (besides your time) regardless of the method you use (unless you use e-filing), and this is true regardless of the preparation software you use.
When is the best time to file?
While many Americans wait until the April 15 (April 18) deadline to file their taxes, if you want to avoid the stress of procrastination, you can file your 2022 tax return as early as Jan. 23, 2023.
Getting your taxes filed early reduces the risk of a fraudulent refund being claimed by someone who steals your identity.
Tax Forms You Are Due- Where To Get Copies
A tax form must be obtained from the financial institutions with which you have accounts before you can file. You should receive it by mail or receive instructions on how to access it online when it arrives. A form like this reports how much you have earned in interest from high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit, how much money you have lost or made from selling investments, and how much you have received in retirement account distributions.
A Form W-2 is the most common form that employers provide to employees to verify their earned income and taxes already paid. If a freelancer or independent contractor receives more than $600 in compensation from a client (this is known as “non-employee compensation”), they will receive Form 1099-MISC. A 1099-MISC may also be issued when you earn prize money.
Furthermore, depending on your circumstances, you may receive forms that document your interest payments on student loans and mortgages.
A paper copy of these forms was traditionally sent to you by your financial institution, employer, and client. In today’s world, you can access these forms online if you log into your account. You may be able to get these forms only through this service, or it may be optional.
The deadlines for receiving tax forms
Employers and financial institutions have set deadlines by which these forms must be mailed to you or made available electronically. Here’s when you’re supposed to receive some of the most common tax forms needed for 2022.
- W-2 Statement of Wage and Taxes – January 31st
- Statement of Mortgage Interest – January 31, 2017
- 31st January 1098-E, Interest Statement for Student Loans
- Statement of Tuition – 1098-T – 31 Jan.
- 31st January, 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions
- Cancellation of debt – 1099-C – 31st January
- A tax refund from the state, unemployment compensation, etc., is included in 1099-G.
- Dividends and Distributions – January 31, 1099-DIV
- Income from interest – 1099-INT – 31st of January
- Miscellaneous Income – 1099-MISC – January 31
- Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc. – January 31
- Real Estate Transactions – 1099-S – February 15, 1819
- Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc. – March 1520
Taking Care of Missing Tax Forms
The IRS doesn’t absolve you of reporting the information on your tax return if you don’t receive one or more of the forms you need.
- Check your inbox. Maybe you received an email notification that a form was ready in your online account with a link to a secure portal to retrieve it. Maybe you misplaced an envelope you received in the mail.
- Check out your online account to see if you can find the form there. Most sites provide prominent information about where to find your tax forms from January through April. The majority of major financial institutions offer online banking, investment, and loan interest forms.
- Get in touch with your financial institution, client, or other issuer and ask about your missing form and what method was used to deliver it to you. Ask for a replacement copy.
- If you still do not have all the forms you need by April 15 (April 18 in 2023), you can file for an extension. If you owe any taxes, you must still pay what you owe by April 15 to avoid penalties, so make your best estimate. Form 1040 and any other forms you have to submit are the only ones that get the extension.
The forms you receive from issuers regarding taxes withheld must be included with your paper return. You won’t need to do so if you file electronically.
All but the most enthusiastic super-doers can find it excruciating to acquire, organize, and complete all the forms necessary to prepare their tax returns. The only thing you have to do if you don’t want to incur penalties for not filing your tax return is to set aside a few hours, have a sufficient amount of your favorite snack nearby, and get started.