How to Submit Taxes

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Submitting taxes is not a difficult task if you know the basics. The first step is to calculate what taxes you owe, if any, but whether you owe or not, you must file the appropriate forms. You can mail your taxes to the government, or you can submit them electronically (e-file). With e-filing, some software will walk you through filling out the forms and then will file them for you. If you don't want to spend money on programs, you can e-file yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Tax forms or tax program
  • Computer
  • Internet connection

Submit by Mail

Fill out the tax forms. If you do this on a computer, print them out.

Look up the address where tax forms are to be sent. This varies depending on where you live. Use the IRS website to find the different addresses by state (see Resources section).

Write a check or fill out information for a credit card payment if you owe money. Fill out information for your bank account if the government owes you. If you leave this blank, the IRS will mail you a check.

Put forms in an envelope with the correct address and mail. If you attach a "return receipt," you will know that it arrived at the IRS office.

E-file

Fill out the forms or use a computer program to help fill them out. There are several to choose from. TurboTax and TaxCut are an examples of programs that can be bought and installed on your computer. Updates are downloaded each year to keep these programs up to date so the forms are accurate. They will walk you through each step asking questions, so that nothing is missed.

Other programs are accessed on the Internet. The tax software is not always the same for the online applications. Some will walk you through the process, while others are no more than online forms, where you still have to figure it out yourself. Some online applications charge a fee. The website keeps the forms up to date. An example of this type of site would be TaxACT and even TurboTax.

If you are using software, select the option for the program to e-file the forms for you. It will ask all the necessary information for payment or refund. Make sure you are online so that the forms can be submitted. If you are using an online application, connection is not an issue.

If you have no tax program, e-file using the IRS website or one of the free online application sites (see Resources section). With these sites, you will have to do the math yourself, but once you're done you can submit the forms on the site free of charge.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep all records. If you e-file, no paper documents go to the government. Keep paper copies for your records in case the IRS asks for them.

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