Tax planning is for everyone. Get ready today to file your federal income tax return.

Gather your tax records

Have your records organized to make preparing a tax return easier. It may also help you discover potentially overlooked deductions or credits.

Include in your tax records:

  • Forms W-2 from employers
  • Forms 1099 from banks and other payers
  • Other income documents and records of virtual currency transactions.

Include your Notice 1444 Your Economic Tax Payment with your tax records if you received an  Economic Impact Payment.

Review your prior year’s tax return to see information from your most recently filed tax return.

Notify the IRS if your address changes and notify the Social Security Administration of a legal name change.

Remember, most income is taxable. This includes:

Check your Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)

Ensure your Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) hasn’t  expired before you file a tax return in 2021. If you need to file a tax return in 2020, IRS recommends you submit a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or Formulario W-7 (SP), Solicitud de Número del Identificación Personal del Contribuyente del Servicio de Impuestos Internos, now to renew your ITIN. As a reminder, ITINs with middle digits 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, or 87 that expired in 2016, 2017,  2018, or 2019 can also be renewed.

Make sure you’ve withheld enough tax

Use the Tax Withholding Estimator to help you determine  the right amount of tax to have withheld from your paycheck. This tool on IRS.gov will help determine if you need to adjust your withholding and submit a new Form W-4 to your employer. 

Consider estimated tax payments. If you receive a substantial amount of non-wage income like self-employment income, investment income, taxable Social Security benefits and in some instances, pension and annuity income you should make quarterly estimated tax payments, with the last payment for 2020 due on Jan. 15, 2021. Payment options can be found at IRS.gov/payments.

What’s new and what to consider when you file in 2021

Recovery Rebate Credit

You may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your Tax Year 2020 Federal income tax return if you met the eligibility criteria in 2020 and:

  • You didn’t receive an Economic Impact Payment, or
  • Your Economic Impact Payment was less than $1,200 ($2,400 if married filing jointly for 2019 or 2018) plus $500 for each qualifying child you had in 2020.
  • For additional information about the Economic Impact Payment, visit the Economic Impact Payment Information Center.

Refund interest payments

If you received a federal tax refund, you may have been paid interest. Interest payments are taxable and must be reported on your 2020 federal income tax return. In January 2021, the IRS will send a Form 1099-INT to anyone who receives interest totaling at least $10.

Refund timing

Although the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Some returns may require additional review and may take longer. For example, the IRS, along with its partners in the tax industry, continue to strengthen security reviews to help protect against identity theft and refund fraud. Additionally, refunds for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) can’t be issued before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund − even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC. This law change, which took effect in 2017, helps ensure that taxpayers receive the refund they’re due by giving the IRS more time to detect and prevent fraud.