Only about 10% of people fill out the paper forms and mail their taxes into the IRS. While E-File tends to be the faster and more convenient method, paper filing can be cheaper.
Filing a paper return can be the better option if your taxes are simple or you’re not eligible for E-File. To make the paper method work for you, you need to know how to file correctly.
Read this guide and file your paper taxes next tax season.
Why File a Paper Tax Return
There are certain circumstances when filing a paper tax return is the smarter choice. You may have missed the e-filing deadline. You have until April 15th to electronically file your tax return.
You may be able to get an extension until Oct 15th. The IRS typically shuts down their E-File system in November to prepare for the next tax season. If you can’t wait until it reopens in January, then you need to paper file.
Another reason to file paper tax documents is if you need to amend your return. Even if you initially filed electronically, you need to send in a paper version of the 1040X form.
How to File Your Taxes
To prepare your paper tax return, you’ll need the same information that you would for an electronic filing. You can prepare all of your documents through online services such as PayStubCreator to do the math for you.
Then you can print out the completed forms. Make sure you read over the filled out forms and check them for errors. Check these items as they are common places for errors.
- Personal information
- Data entry
- Attach copies of your W2s
- Sign and Date
Where Can I Find the Forms?
You can obtain all of the tax forms that you need from the IRS Forms page. Select the forms you need, download them, and then print them.
Another option is to request the forms be sent to you by mail. There is a limit of 100 different products and up to 100 copies of each form per year.
Where Do I Send the Forms?
The address you need to send your forms to will change based on the forms you need to file and the state you live in. Head to the IRS addresses page to look up the form and then the address for your state.
If you live internationally, there’s a separate address for your paper tax return.
It will take longer for your paper tax return to get processed. This is because a tax agent will have to enter your information to process your return manually. You should wait at least four weeks before you can use the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool.
File Your Taxes like a Pro
If you need to file your taxes by paper form this year, follow these tips to know how to file your paper tax return and make sure you don’t forget. Following the process will ensure that the IRS processes your return promptly.
Check out the finances section of our blog for more tips and advice on keeping your money in order.