Filing taxes electronically may save you time and money - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Filing taxes electronically may save you time and money

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's not too late for the IRS to remind filers of the do's and don'ts this tax season.

Filing taxes requires making some important decisions, but whether you do it yourself or hire someone to file your taxes, the first step is making sure it's done in a safe way.

We're only a week into tax season, and the IRS is reminding people to be safe when filing their taxes. Most importantly, they said, watch out for scam calls.

"If you get a call from the IRS stating that you owe money simply hang up," said Mark Green, IRS spokesman.

Green said filing your taxes electronically is safer, faster, and more accurate. Online filing also broke a record in Georgia last year.

"We had 3.8 million returns filed electronically. This year we expect a total of 4.6 million returns to be filed," said Green.

The biggest change in the tax code in several years affects those with health coverage through the marketplace. You must notify the IRS of your health coverage status.

"If you are sponsored through an insurance company through your job or if you have Medicare or have the marketplace insurance, the simple thing you need to do is check a box, but filing electronically, it does that for you," said Green.

Employers in certain professions can take advantage of tax deduction benefits, which may not be available next year.

"There is a $250 deduction right of the top of the tax return that teachers can take off if they were not reimbursed for purchasing classroom supplies," said Green.

Even those who made home improvements are qualified for deductions.

"Such as energy efficient windows or air condition or furnace, even thermostats. It's a $500 lifetime energy credit you can take," said Green.

Those who earned less than $60,000 can file their taxes online at IRS.gov for free.

If you decide to file your taxes by paper, Green says don't forget to sign your documents before mailing them off.

For the first time ever, tax returns will include questions about health care coverage and if you're expecting a refund, it could take up to three weeks if you file electronically and about two months if you file by paper return.

Green also leaves one more suggestion: don't forget your IP PIN.

The IP PIN is a six-digit number that must be used on a tax return, in addition to the Social Security number, to verify the taxpayers' identity. 

Although this is optional, "the main purpose of the program is to add an additional layer of protection to taxpayers who live in areas where tax-related identity theft is more prevalent," Green said.

For more information, check out the document below or here

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