When can I file taxes?

when can I file taxesJoe Raedle/GettyYou can file taxes as soon as you get your W-2 or 1099 forms.Joe Raedle/Getty

The end of the year is fast approaching and it will soon be time to file your taxes.

In order to submit your tax return, you first need a W-2 form, or Wage and Tax statement, from every employer you had during 2019. If you're a freelancer, you'll need 1099 forms.

Employers typically must file and postmark tax-related documents by January 31, so you should receive your forms by early February 2020. But if you receive all your forms before then, you can file your tax return as soon as you'd like.

The deadline for filing your 2019 tax return is Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

If you haven't received your form by mid-February, you should first contact your employer and request a copy or ask that it be re-sent, according to the IRS. If that doesn't work, you can then contact the IRS at 800-829-1040. You'll need to provide the following information:

  • Name, address, Social Security number, and phone number
  • Your employer's name, address, and phone number
  • Dates you worked for your employer
  • An estimate of your paid wages and federal income tax withheld during 2018

If you still don't have your W-2 by April 15, you can use the W-2 substitute, Form 4852and estimate your wages and withheld taxes. Note that the IRS could delay your refund while verifying the information. You can also file for a six-month extension using the IRS Free File.

If you receive your W-2 after filing and the information is different than what you claimed, you'll need to file an amended tax return using Form 1040X.

Once you file your taxes, you should receive your tax refund within 21 days.

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