Even though the IRS has not yet begun accepting e-filed tax returns, you can still get started now and be first in line for your tax refund. TurboTax and TurboTax Live assisted tax preparation with live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are open and ready for taxpayers to prepare their returns.
Filers can prepare their tax returns now and TurboTax will securely store completed returns for transmission to the IRS and States once they begin accepting E-File. The average direct deposit tax refund last tax season was just over $3,000 so there is no reason to wait!
If you need some extra motivation, here are 10 quick tips to help you get a jump-start on your tax refund:
1. Gather Your Documents in One Place
Gather your documents, forms, and receipts for tax-deductible expenses in one place so you don’t forget anything come filing time. TurboTax asks simple questions specific to you, but having your documents ready to go will save you time.
Pro tip: keep a folder next to where your mail comes in so that when W-2s, 1099s, and other relevant forms start to roll in, you can keep them together in an easily accessible spot. Also, always have a copy of your prior year tax return in case you need to access your prior year adjusted gross income when you file.
2. Go Online and File
When you go online with TurboTax it’s easy to file your taxes. You don’t need to know anything about tax laws and tax forms. TurboTax asks simple questions about your life like, “Did you get married?” or “Did you have a baby?” and personalizes the program to you so you only see questions relevant for your tax filing situation. You can also take advantage of TurboTax new product enhancements to help you get your taxes done with confidence.
3. Do Your Taxes for Free
More than 60 million taxpayers have a simple tax return, but they are paying too much to get their taxes done by taking them to someone when they can do them for free. With TurboTax Free Edition, taxpayers with a simple tax return, that file W-2 income, claim the standard deduction, Earned Income Tax Credit, or the Child Tax Credit can feel confident that they’re getting the most money possible in their pocket and that filing their taxes will be completely free.
Returning customers can easily transfer their prior year information for free and new customers can effortlessly import a PDF of last year’s tax return and information for free, giving new and returning customers up to a 50% head start while eliminating data entry. Free data transfer gives new and returning customers an effortless, worry-free start to their taxes.
4. File Anywhere, Anytime
With TurboTax, you have the luxury of filing your taxes seamlessly across devices, anytime and anywhere you want. You can conveniently jump-start your taxes by snapping a photo of your W-2 with your phone or tablet, and watch as your information is securely put into the correct tax forms eliminating data entry. You can start on your phone, take a break, and finish your taxes on your computer.
And with the new TurboTax Live, you can connect live via one-way video from your computer or mobile device to a CPA or Enrolled Agent so you can get answers to your tax questions and even have the tax expert review, sign, and file your tax return without leaving the house.
5. E-file with Direct Deposit
When you go online and file with TurboTax you can e-file with direct deposit. E-file with direct deposit is the fastest way to get your federal tax refund. The IRS states that nine out of 10 taxpayers who e-file with direct deposit will receive their federal tax refund within 21 days or less. When you file your taxes with TurboTax today, TurboTax will securely hold your completed taxes and securely transmit them to the IRS and states when they open for e-file so you can be one of the first in line for your tax refund.
6. Import your Financial Information
Payroll providers and financial institutions are required to issue your tax forms like W-2s and 1099s by January 31, but you don’t need to wait for those forms to start your taxes. TurboTax can securely import tax information directly from millions of employers and financial institutions, eliminating data entry and increasing accuracy for effortless tax preparation. With W-2 import over 150 million W-2s are supported.
7. Remember 2018
It’s not hard to remember big things like getting married or having a baby, but our lives are busy and some little expenses can add up to big tax deductions! Don’t forget to have receipts in hand for expenses like charitable donations and medical expenses when you sit down to file your taxes — these additional expenses may help you get a bigger tax refund.
8. Double-Check Social Security Numbers
Make sure you have your correct social security numbers before sitting down to file your taxes. You need to include correct social security numbers for you, your spouse, and dependents in order to get valuable tax credits and deductions like the Child Tax Credit, which is worth up to $2,000 per qualifying child.
9. Don’t Wait to File
Last year close to 75% of taxpayers received a tax refund and the average direct deposit tax refund was just over $3,000, so there is no reason to wait to file your taxes.
10. TurboTax is Here So You are Never Alone
TurboTax will ask you simple questions about you and give you the tax deductions and credits you are eligible for based on your answers. You can also connect live, via one-way video to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent to ask your tax questions and have them review, sign, and file for you. Our TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents have an average of 15 years experience and are up-to-date on the new tax laws and available to answer your questions throughout your tax preparation process. TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in English and Spanish.
Lisa Lewis is a CPA and the TurboTax Blog Editor. Lisa has 15 years of experience in tax preparation. Her success is attributed to being able to interpret tax laws and help clients better understand them. Lisa also has been a TurboTax product user for many years and understands how the software program works. In addition to extensive tax experience, Lisa also has a very well-rounded professional background. She has held positions as a public auditor, controller, and operations manager. Prior to becoming the TurboTax Blog Editor, she was a Technical Writer for the TurboTax Consumer Group and worked on a project to write new FAQs to help customers better understand tax laws. She could also be seen helping TurboTax customers with tax questions during Lifeline. For Lisa, getting timely and accurate information out to customers to help them is paramount.