How to file a US tax return

Seeing as though I’d not received ANY communication from the IRS I thought I’d best start to prepare now before the end of March rush. Target were doing TaxCut Deluxe (State and something else) for $19.99 but naturally its not possible to actually buy it in the store as they have sold out. So first I headed off to the library where a mass of forms such as 1040. 1040A and 1040EZ (the latter sounds promising) were on display with about 30 extra schedules that I could have. I’m almost positive they invented an extra few characters of the alphabet so they could have schedule a,b,c,ñ etc.
Anyway, I take them home and decide to ring the IRS to see what they say. After ringing the helpline on 1800 829 1040 I enter the worlds most comprehensive (aka confusing) voice menu system. I’m currently programming a 2 layer deep voicemenu system for a customer and I thought this was confusing – however the IRS system must be about 8 or 9 layers deep. Naturally you enter a wrong choice and head off down a branch that you no longer need, but there is no option to get out of the branch and head back up or back to a receptionist. As I was stuck in a menu branch I just kept pressing buttons until I got through to a live person who had difficulty speaking english and promptly put me through to someone else who would help.
The second person actually understood what I was asking and said they were going to put me through to the tech centre. That was about 5 minutes before I started to post this blog item. In the meantime I’ve listened to several pieces of classical music and every 60 seconds or so I get asked to press 1 to continue in English or 2 to continue in Spanish – why they keep asking me to do this I have no idea. I’m just glad that I have a phone with a headset socket, free US calls so I can sit down and blog whilst waiting for them. Unfortunately as I sat down in the chair the phone beeped as I accidentally pushed a button – I really hope it wasn’t the 2 key and I end up speaking to someone in Spanish!
Ooh – they’ve answered.
So they now start asking me questions about whether I want to file seperately, joint etc. – thats one of the reasons I was ringing in the first place!


  1. Angela M

    If you don’t file electronically be sure to send the return certified mail with delivery receipt requested. This comes from someone who had her return “misplaced” by the IRS.

  2. mikelietz

    At the library they have a number of good thick books, one of which is the Dummies guide to the 2005 taxes, and if I ever return it you might want to check it out.

    As for figuring out if you’re filing joint or single, it helps to do the numbers both ways and compare — there’s no simple answer for which is better, sadly.

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