How to Apply For a Tax Return


Tax time comes once a year, and when it does taxpayers scramble to get everything they need to file their returns. With every tax season, we all hope that our tax return results in a refund once everything is said and done. Keep those fingers crossed for a refund while you wait for your employer to get your W-2 or Form 1099 out to you by Jan. 31. Once you have received these items you will know soon enough if you will get a refund as long as you file before the April 15 deadline.


  • Gather tax information. Before you begin to submit your tax return through e-file, gather all of your tax information, paperwork and documentation together. Items you will need include social security numbers, W-2s, Forms 1099, expense receipts and other proof for itemized deductions. You will also need you bank account number if you want your refund to be deposited directly into your bank. For your return’s signature you will need either your adjusted gross income from the previous year or PIN.

  • Decide how to e-file. When filing for your tax refund via the IRS e-file system, you file three different ways. You can take your tax return to a local tax professional who is an authorized IRS e-file provider. You can also download programs on your personal computer that will help you e-file your tax return, or you can file using the IRS’s Free File from its website.

  • E-file your taxes. E-file is the quickest way to file for your tax return with the IRS by submitting it via the Internet. Your return will be immediately received by the IRS. You can e-file your return by going to the IRS website or using a tax preparation program, such as Turbo Tax.

By Mail

  • Pick up tax forms. Stop by your local post office or library to pick up the current year’s tax forms, or you can go online and download them from the IRS website. Pick up a few of each form you need, this way if you make a mistake you will not have to run back out to get another form. If you download the form from the Internet, save a copy on your desktop so you can easily find it when you need it.

  • Gather all paperwork. Before you start filling in your tax forms make sure you have all your paperwork, documentation and receipts available. Keep these items in a folder or large envelope for easy access while completing your taxes.

  • Fill out everything. Completely fill out every line on every form, even if you input a zero. If at all possible do not leave anything blank. Do not forget to sign the form once you have completed filling out your return.

  • Make copies. Make copies of everything you are filing, including forms, receipts and other documentation. Put your copies in a folder or large envelope and mark with this year’s tax return date and keep in a safe location. If your tax return gets lost in the mail or is missing, you will have a copy to send in without having to start the whole process over again. Also, if there is an issue with your tax return, you will have a copy to refer to when speaking with the IRS.

  • Mail return. Mail your tax return to the appropriate IRS office. You can send it regular mail or use a flat rate priority mail envelope.

Tax Professional

  • Gather all information. Before calling to make an appointment with a tax professional, you will want to make sure you have everything you need to file your taxes. Make sure you have received your W-2 or 1099 from your employer and have all of your receipts organized.

  • Find a tax professional. If you do not want the stress of completing your tax return yourself or have a lot of questions, seek out the help of a tax preparation company. You can find a local accountant who will be able to help you file and answer any questions you may have.

  • Make appointment. Call the tax professional office you are choosing to use and make an appointment. You need to do this as soon as you have received all of your tax documentation because the closer to April, the fewer appointments that are available. Ask for a list of things you will need to bring with you and check the paperwork you have gathered to make sure everything is ready.

  • Go to appointment. Your tax professional will help you fill out your tax return and make sure everything is in place. He or she will also send it off to the IRS either via e-file or mail. The way you have your tax return submitted may affect how much you pay for your return to be completed. Sign all forms and wait for your return.


  • Photo Credit tax forms image by Chad McDermott from
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