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socialmedia_efile-02It may feel like the new year just started, but tax season is already well underway.

With a bit of preparation, you can keep cool and calm as the April 18 tax deadline approaches. Find out how to get ready for tax season, and learn about e-filing and other options from the Department of Revenue (DOR).

Get Everything Ready

When it comes to tax season, the prep work is half the battle. Before you sit down to do your taxes, follow DOR’s tips for a stress-free tax filing season, and use their guide to personal income tax to get started.

  • Gather Your Records in Advance — Don’t start your return until you have all the necessary documents and information, including:
    • Paperwork — Collect all employment and income statements, such as Form W-2sForm 1099s, and Schedule K-1s.
    • Social Security or Tax Identification Numbers — Have these numbers for everyone listed on your return.
    • Bank Routing Numbers — Keep these on hand if you want to get your refund through direct deposit.
  • Look at This Year’s Changes — Don’t be caught by surprise. DOR has compiled a list of tax changes for this year.
  • Reduce Your Taxes — See if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (or EITC), which could result in a refund of thousands of dollars for you and your family.
  • Learn About Credits for Seniors and Retirees — Take advantage of the deductions and exemptions available to Massachusetts senior citizens and retirees.

Consider E-filing

E-filing can help make your taxes less stressful. DOR provides a list of tax preparation software you can use to e-file. When you e-file, you can:

  • Get Your Refund Faster — Most refunds are issued in less than 2 weeks. Some refunds may take longer, due to personal ID verification to prevent fraud. If you’re filing by paper, your refund could take up to 8 to 10 weeks to process.
  • Have Fewer Return Errors — Electronic returns have fewer errors than paper returns.
  • Save Money — Most Massachusetts taxpayers are eligible to e-file for free.
  • Go Green — You won’t need to print tax forms or fill out paper tax booklets when you e-file.

Learn About More Ways to File

DOR offers a few other filing options and resources to help you file your return.

  • Find a Free Tax Preparation Site — Many places across Massachusetts offer free tax advice and help. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a database to help you find IRS-approved free tax assistance sites near you.
  • Hire a Tax Professional — Certified tax professionals can be helpful if you have complicated returns. Use DOR’s tips on choosing a tax preparer and the IRS’s paid tax provider search to find a reputable professional.
  • File with Paper Forms — If you’re unable to file online, visit DOR’s tax forms page to find the correct paper forms you’ll need. For more information about forms, call DOR at (617) 887-6367 or toll-free in Massachusetts at (800) 392-6089. Call center hours are 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday.

Need an Extension?

If you’re unable to file your tax returns before April 18, 2017, you’ll be automatically granted a 6-month filing extension as long as you’ve paid at least 80% of the taxes you owe.

Make tax season less taxing — consider e-filing, and take care of your state taxes long before the deadline.

Starting your taxes? Have questions? Let us know. Leave a comment below or tweet @MassGov. Please don’t include any personal information.

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