BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) — As the May 17 income tax deadline approaches, the Idaho State Tax Commission is offering some tips to make filing taxes easier:
1. E-file your return
Filing your return electronically has many benefits. They include:
- The software does the math for you.
- You get a confirmation email.
- Your electronic filing provider keeps a record of your tax return.
- You get a faster refund than if you file by paper. It generally takes about seven to eight weeks to receive a refund when you e-file versus 10 to 11 weeks for a paper return. Using direct deposit gets the refund to you even faster.
2. See if you qualify to e-file your return for free
The Tax Commission has worked with software providers and the IRS to offer free e-filing for many people with simple state and federal returns. If you have an adjusted gross income of $72,000 or less, you probably qualify to e-file for free.
To find the free e-filing offers, visit tax.idaho.gov. Click on “Free income tax e-file--See if you qualify!” in the “Quick Picks” section. Last year, nearly 600,000 Idaho taxpayers could have qualified to e-file for free.
3. Find out what pandemic-related income is taxable
Recent laws have changed what pandemic income is taxable. For example, Rebound Idaho grants aren’t taxable by Idaho, but they’re taxable at the federal level. Also, unemployment benefits are taxable by Idaho, but benefits for certain taxpayers aren’t taxable at the federal level. Visit tax.idaho.gov for more information on what's taxable by Idaho and how to report the income.
4. Make sure your return is complete
- Double-check your figures to make sure you have no typos. Also, confirm your Social Security numbers (SSNs). Incorrect SSNs delay refunds.
- Make sure you list your current mailing address. Tax Commission officials need this if you’re getting a refund or to send you a letter asking for more information if necessary. Also let them know if you change addresses after you file.
- If you e-file, make sure you list the correct Employer Identification Number (EIN) and the employer’s state ID number when entering information from your W-2s. Incorrect numbers will delay a refund.
- If you file by paper:
- Include all your W-2s and a complete copy of your federal return.
- Both spouses must sign if you’re filing a joint return.
5.Pay electronically if you owe taxes
Schedule electronic payments on dates you choose by using the free Quick Pay service at tax.idaho.gov or through e-file providers that offer a free direct debit option.
6. Final Tip: Respond to any Tax Commission letters asking for more information
All income tax returns go through fraud detection reviews and accuracy checks before any refunds are issued. After you file your return, the Tax Commission may send you letters asking you to validate your identity or verify that you filed a tax return. The letters also may ask you to provide missing or extra information for your return. If you receive a letter, take the requested action right away. Processing of your refund will continue once you provide the needed information.