If you’re wary of submitting your personal data to the cloud or if you feel like you don’t have the resources or time to electronically complete and file your tax forms this year, then you might be thinking you want to do things “old school” and just print and hand write everything. You might be wondering, ‘can I print 1099 on plain paper?’ and whether or not your 1099s, W-2s, and other tax forms can be handwritten. Keep it simple, right? Well, not so fast.
Although the IRS will accept handwritten forms, they do caution that the writing must be completely legible and accurate in order to avoid errors in processing. In fact, most accountants, myself included, would tell you that more often than not, handwritten forms lead to errors and delays in processing. Of course, you may still want to pursue this option, but you should definitely weigh your other options for filling out and submitting tax forms before making a final decision.
To help you out, this article will explain the requirements and options for preparing and submitting tax forms such as W-2s, 1099s, and returns. The topics we’ll cover include:
When it comes to tax forms, there are some strict printing and paper guidelines to adhere to:
In addition to IRS form guidelines, if you decide to complete your tax forms by hand, the IRS requires that you follow these guidelines:
As you can see, even though it might sound easier in theory to complete the information on your tax documents by hand, in practice, it may be much more difficult and time consuming to complete your forms this way. If you go ahead with handwritten forms, make sure to make yourself photocopies for your records.
If after reading these handwriting guidelines, you’ve decided that filling out handwritten forms sounds like too much for you, another option is to contact an IRS business partner. These professionals and organizations might be able to help you out for little to no fee as long as you only have a small number of forms to complete. Basically, this is a resource list of tax and other related business professionals who can help answer your tax questions and help you file your tax forms.
Whether you’ve decided to complete handwritten tax forms, use a typewriter to fill them in, or complete them on a computer and print them out, there are several ways you can obtain and/or complete your tax forms.
The IRS cautions that if you’re looking at the PDF forms on the IRS website, you need to understand that many of those are only provided as examples and are not forms that can be filled in electronically and then printed for filing. Nor are some of the PDF forms meant to be printed and filled out by hand. You must either have software that generates the file according to the IRS specifications or you must purchase or order the IRS forms to fill in.
If you’ve decided it would be better and easier to enter data onto your tax forms using a computer, then TFP software can help you do just that. TFP software not only helps you to legibly complete all of the needed information, but it also walks you through what to enter and where. Additionally, the layout of the software helps you avoid errors on your tax forms that could lead to headaches down the road. Often, the software comes in bundles with tax forms and envelopes so that you can purchase everything you need at once.
The IRS and most tax professionals urge clients to use e-filing rather than submitting handwritten tax forms. In fact, if you are distributing more than 250 Form 1099s, you must e-file. Additionally, by 2022, almost all businesses will be required to e-file, so it makes since to get used to this now.
Other benefits to e-filing include:
One way to get started e-filing your federal taxes is by using the options on the IRS website. Depending on your income, the IRS now provides free file software and forms, that can be used to easily complete the process.
Another option is to use a third party e-filing software to help you safely and securely file your tax forms online. This option can add the convencies of cloud storage, app integration, and digital recordkeeping to help you organize and maintain your tax documents.
Everyone knows that taxes are inevitable and usually not fun to think about or to complete. However, with the right tools, the process becomes much easier and less of a hassle. Although you may be tempted to complete everything on your own, if you have questions, it’s always best to contact the IRS or a tax professional before completing or submitting any tax forms.
This article is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information. However, it is not a substitute for legal advice and does not provide legal opinions on any specific facts or services. The information is provided with the understanding that any person or entity involved in creating, producing or distributing this article is not liable for any damages arising out of the use or inability to use this product. You are urged to consult an attorney concerning your particular situation and any specific questions or concerns you may have.
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