Getting Started With Your State Taxes

Whether you e-file or file by paper, planning ahead will help you avoid problems and delays with your income taxes. 

First:  click here to determine if you should file a North Carolina individual income tax return. 

People who want to take advantage of the State's Earned Income Tax Credit should file a state return, even if they would not normally be required to file.  Click here to determine if you are eligible. 

Second:  determine your federal adjusted gross income, which is the starting point for your State individual income tax return for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2012.  You determine that figure by completing a federal income tax return.  Click here to get started with your federal return. 

Once you have determined that you should file, review these tips to give you a head start on your state taxes:

  1. Review the instructions on how to file your State taxes.  Click here to read those instructions. 
  2. Gather your records in advance.  Make sure you have all the records you need, including wage and earning statements (Forms W-2 and 1099R) from employers, and interest and dividend statements (Form 1099) from financial institutions. Don’t forget to save copies for your files.  Filing before you receive all your records could cause you to have to file an amended return. 
  3. Get the right forms.  Form D-400 is the North Carolina individual income tax return.   If you are claiming tax credits, you must attach the Form D-400 TC.  Those forms, and others, are available around the clock on the North Carolina Department of Revenue website. 

    Remember: Please don't file photocopies of tax forms. That could delay the processing of your return or cause errors that would require you to file an amended return.

  4. Learn about any tax credits for which you are eligible.  There are a number of credits, both federal and state, that may reduce the amount of tax you owe or increase your refund.  This includes the State’s Earned Income Tax Credit.

Remember The Deadline!

Unless you file for an extension, State income tax returns are due April 15.

Free Tax Help Is Available

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) generally offers free tax help to people who make $51,000 or less.  The IRS also offers tax help for seniors through its Tax Counseling for the Elderly program (TCE). There are VITA and TCE sites across the state where trained volunteers can answer your questions, file your taxes and help you take advantage of any tax credits for which you are eligible.

Click here to learn more about VITA and TCE.  

You can call 1-800-829-1040 to find the VITA or TCE site near you.  

Tips For Preparing Your Taxes

When you are ready to fill out your tax forms, remember these tips:

  1. Take your time.  Don’t rush it when you’re filling out your forms; that’s how people make mistakes, particularly with their math.
  2. Double-check your math and verify your individual information, including your address and all Social Security numbers.  These are among the most common errors found on tax returns.  Taking care will reduce your chance of hearing from the IRS or NCDOR and speed up your refunds.
  3. File electronically.  E-filing is a quick, convenient and secure way to file both your federal and state taxes. 

    Bonus:  Many North Carolina taxpayers will qualify for free or low-cost e-filing.  Click here to review the criteria for free and low-cost e-filing options.
  4. Don’t panic.  If you have a problem or a question, remember that both the IRS and NCDOR are available to help.  Call the IRS customer service number at 1-800-829-1040 or the NCDOR taxpayer assistance number at 1-877-252-3052.