From filing your annual tax return to learning about long-term tax strategies, plus everything in between, we're here to help. Here's what to know about tax deductions, credits, software, and more.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • How do you know if you’ll have to pay taxes?

      You must pay taxes if your income exceeds the standard deduction for your filing status. In most cases, your annual income, filing status, and age determine if you’ll have to file a tax return. The IRS provides an interactive tool on its website to help you figure out if you have to file and pay taxes. If you’re entitled to a tax refund, you’ll want to file even if you don’t have to.

    • What happens if you don’t file taxes?

      The IRS imposes a failure-to-file penalty of 5% of the amount owed on your tax return per month, up to five months, until you file. You’ll have to simultaneously pay $435 or 100% of the tax due—whichever is less—after 60 days. Eventually, the IRS may file a substitute return for you, which most likely won’t include any tax credits or deductions you qualify for.

    • What’s the earliest you can file taxes?

      The filing season for annual tax returns typically begins the last week of January. While you can file your federal tax return as soon as you receive all the relevant documents you need, the IRS will not process your return before the official opening date. The IRS usually announces the official start of the tax filing season on its website.

    • What makes you have to pay back taxes?

      If you don’t pay your taxes, the IRS will bill you and start the official collection process. If you don’t pay that bill, the IRS will seize any refunds that you’re owed in future tax years. It may also file liens and levies against your property and earnings until you are caught up on your back taxes. The IRS offers payment options if you’re unable to pay your tax bill in full immediately.

    • How long does it take for taxes to come back?

      The IRS states that the majority of taxpayers who are owed a refund should get it in less than 21 days. It could take longer though if the IRS has to review your return or if you filed by mail. To speed things up, file electronically and use direct deposit. The IRS online tool “Where’s My Refund?” can help you check the status of your federal tax refund. State tax refunds may take up to 90 days.

    • How can you get more money back on taxes?

      A hefty tax refund is often the result of overpaying taxes through withholding over the course of the year, or refundable tax credits. The Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit are both refundable tax credits. Tax deductions can also help reduce your taxable income. Then, nonrefundable tax credits can help erase your tax bill. All may help you get more money back on taxes.

    Key Terms

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