IRS debuts new online help for 1040 filers

IRS debuts new online help for 1040 filers

The IRS debuted 1040 Central yesterday at IRS.gov to make finding tax information and forms easier for taxpayers.

1040 Central pulls together step-by-step information for taxpayers and arranges it by what’s new this year and how to prepare personal tax files as well as offers links to filing online, checking on a refund and searching for assistance. “The 1040 Central page can be a one stop location for help,” IRS commissioner Mark Everson said in a statement.

Taxpayers can find information about tax rates, child tax credits and the elimination of the marriage penalty, income limits for Earned Income Tax Credit recipients and rates on capital gains and dividends for investors.

At 1040 Central, the IRS lists e-filing tax practitioners by zip code and provides access to IRS Free File, the partnership with commercial tax preparation software makers. More than 2 million taxpayers used the free services last year, its first year of operation.

The agency anticipates 60 percent, or 78 million, of individual taxpayers will be eligible for IRS Free File this year. The IRS will post eligibility requirements online within a few days.

Taxpayers with Internet access and tax preparation software can e-file their returns by sending a completed electronic return to a transmitter, which converts the file to an IRS-approved format and then transmits it to the IRS. Within 48 hours, the IRS notifies the taxpayer through the transmitter whether or not the return is accepted. Last year, 11.9 million taxpayers e-filed their returns from home, 27 percent more than the previous year.

Most e-filers submit through tax professionals who send their clients’ returns electronically to the IRS. Authorized providers filed 37 million returns last year, up 11 percent from 2002.

The IRS expects to process 131 million individual tax returns this year, about the same as last year. But it anticipates more than 53 million taxpayers will file electronically, slightly more than last year.

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