AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s tax filing season again, and the IRS has advice to make it as smooth as possible.
IRS spokesperson Michael Devine said on Wednesday 19 million returns are already filed as of Feb. 3.
“What we suggest is for those folks who haven’t filed already, take your time, there’s no need to rush, make sure that you have all of the forms you need,” Devine said. “If you don’t receive a W-2 or a 1090 by the end of the February, you can contact the IRS and we may be able to help you get that original document or, if nothing else, we can provide an alternative document that you can use to file your tax return before the April 18 deadline.”
The IRS strongly suggests filing your tax return electronically instead of by mail. Devine said 95% of returns are prepared electronically, and 90% of those are e-filed. By filing electronically, he said this allows the agency to process the filing faster and issue any refunds sooner.
“There are still people who don’t want to do that, they want to print them out and mail them in. That just slows the process down,” Devine said.
Additional tips from Devine:
- Make sure that received forms, such as W-2s and 1099s, are correct prior to filing
- Verify the credentials of any tax preparer before providing sensitive data to them
- Sign up with the IRS for an identity protection personal identification number (ID PIN)
- Senior citizens and those making at or below $73,000 can file for free at IRS.gov
While Devine said filing an accurate return is the best way of avoiding an audit, it can still happen, oftentimes as the result of a mistake.
“If you do make a mistake, the IRS is going to work with you. To fix that mistake, it may mean you’re going to get a smaller refund, or you may actually end up owing,” Devine said. “But the IRS wants to make sure that you pay the taxes that you owe, but not more than you have to.”
All of these returns are processed by people. Since October 2022, the agency has hired 5,000 workers for various openings. Currently, the agency has 400 positions open at its Austin Processing Center.
“It’s been an effort to get them trained for filing season, but we were successful,” Devine said. “Those folks that we hired last fall are working right now… If you’re thinking about changing careers or looking for a job, IRS is a great place to work. It’s challenging, and we all take the job very seriously. Because we all know how important it is.”