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Filing Tax Return

What does it mean to file a tax return?

First of all, let's examine what filing tax return means. Filing tax return (aka filing income tax return or filing federal tax return) means sending your tax return to the Internal Revenue Service or the IRS.

A taxpayer can do this by:

  • mail or
  • electronically (e-file).
Why do you file tax return?

Taxpayers file tax returns to the IRS because the IRS needs to use the information on each tax return to determine each person's tax liability on income he or she received. After calculating the tax liability, the IRS may give the taxpayer a tax refund or he or she may owe the IRS some tax payment.

What is the first thing to do when filing a tax return?

When filing a tax return, the first thing a taxpayer should do is to determine if he or she:

  • is required to file a tax return or
  • should file a tax return even if not required to do so by the IRS.

Click here to study the tax filing requirements. This tax filing requirement chart is prepared by the IRS to let people know who need to file tax returns.

When filing a tax return or studying how to file a tax return, it is handy to have a 1040 tax form handy so you can see what each line item on the 1040 form means. There are three types of 1040 tax forms; 1040, 1040A and 1040-EZ. For the purpose of this tax course, we will study the 1040 form not the shorter versions.

Filing Tax Return


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