How to Do Taxes by Hand

Every year American taxpayers have to file their taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can have an accountant prepare your taxes or you can do them yourself, either electronically or by hand.

Obtain a copy of the federal tax form you need to file. Forms are available at the Internal Revenue Service’s “Forms and Publications” link on their website.

Print a copy of the tax form you need to file as well as a copy of the instructions for the form. The easiest way to do taxes by hand is to have the instructions available so you can refer to them. The instructions guide you through each line on federal income tax forms. They offer explanations of the information being asked for, examples of how to apply to it your tax filing and worksheets for finding out if you can claim tax credits or deductions.

Use your income tax statements. Have copies of your W-2s, 1099s, 1098s and any other tax form that states income, dividends, interest or federal tax withholding available. If you itemize deductions you will need to include information about your mortgage interest, any unreimbursed medical expenses, charitable donations and/or taxes paid.

Fill out your tax form with the information from your W-2 form and other documents. Use a calculator to do mathematical formulas and carefully double-check all of the information you enter. The smallest of mistakes can result in weeks or even months of delay in the IRS processing your tax return.

Sign, date and mail your tax return to the address listed on the instructions for residents of your state. If you owe taxes, include a check, money order or cashiers check made payable to the U.S. Treasury and include it with your tax return.