Filing Your Taxes
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Deadlines, Forms, and Filing
Federal and Maryland income tax returns must be filed by April 15 each year. If you need more time, the deadline can be extended to October 15. To get the extension, you must file Form 4868. The Form can be filed electronically at no cost through the IRS Free File website.
Finding Tax Forms
- Order them on the IRS website to be delivered or call 1-800-829-3676
- PDF versions of the forms are available on the IRS website.
Maryland Tax Forms
- Download Maryland tax forms from the Comptroller's website
- Request forms by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
- In person at a taxpayer service office
Electronic Tax Filing
Complete your federal tax return forms through the IRS Free File website. If you earn less than $72,000, you can also e-file for free through a tax preparation company who has a partnership with the IRS. See the IRS website for more information.
Filing by Mail
Completed federal tax return forms can be mailed to the IRS. The address depends on the state you live in. See the IRS website for details. Note that filing by mail can increase the processing time by 6-8 weeks versus electronic filing.
Completed state tax return forms can be mailed to the Comptroller's office. See the Instruction Booklet for where to mail your return.
Tax Preparation Services
If you choose to use a tax preparation service, take some time to research each provider before you select one. These are a few considerations:
- Many companies offer free or paid state tax preparation and e-filing services.
- Some companies may not offer state tax preparation and e-file services for all states.
- There may be a fee for the electronic filing as well as the tax form preparation. Make sure you receive a copy of the form and confirmation that it was filed for you.
- Particularly be careful of the places that offer you an "instant refund". They are not part of the IRS and the "instant refund" is, in effect, a loan. Because it is a loan, you will very likely be charged a fee. Find out the amount of the fee and decide if it is worth it or if you might be better off just waiting for your refund directly from IRS. Remember the earlier you file, the faster you will receive a refund. You do not have to wait until April.
There are several professional organizations and other resources you can use to check the credentials of your tax preparer. These include:
- Find an IRS trained free tax preparer near you.
- If you earn less than $72,000, you can use free tax preparation software from companies who have partnered with the IRS.
- If you earn less than $57,000 per year, you can get free help preparing your Maryland income tax return through the CASH Campaign.
- If you have a more complex return and want an accountant to prepare your taxes, visit the Maryland State Board of Public Accountancy website. You can find out if your accountant is licensed by the State Board and whether any disciplinary complaints have been filed against them.
Documents to Bring to Your Tax Preparer
You should bring these documents or information, if you have them.
- The names and birth dates of everyone in your household (you, your spouse and any children born before the end of the tax year.)
- Last year's tax return, if you filed.
- Form W-2s from all of your and your spouse's jobs during the year.
- Records of all other income, such as interest on your bank accounts and tips. If self-employed, bring a detailed, itemized list of your income and expenses.
- Social Security Cards for your children, yourself, your spouse, and all other dependents and family members. You must bring everyone’s Social Security card and picture ID.
- Information about expenses that you think might help reduce your taxes, such as receipts from childcare providers (including provider’s tax identification number), mortgage interest statements, donations to your church, costs incurred in seeking a college degree or taking courses to acquire or improve job skills, and proof of payment of medical insurance premiums covering your children and medical expenses.
- If you are married and filing jointly, your spouse must come with you.
- If you want your refund directly deposited to your checking account, bring a voided blank check. If you want your refund directly deposited to your savings account, bring your bank routing number and your savings account number. Make sure the bank’s name and the routing number are current and correct.
- Proof of any other income received.
- Proof of any business expenses you might have had - for example, receipts from the purchase of uniforms required by your employer.
- Form 1099-G, which shows how much you received in unemployment insurance benefits.
- Form 1099-INT, which shows how much interest you received from a bank or mutual fund.
- Any other tax reporting forms you have received, such as a Maryland form reporting your receipt of a state tax refund.
- If you own a house, bring statements from your mortgage company or home equity loan, and proof of any real estate tax you paid.
- Documentation of any amounts you contributed to an IRA or other retirement plan.