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Tax Tips for Filing 2020 Tax Year Individual Income Taxes

April 27, 2021

The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) recognizes tax filing season can be complex and may lead to questions and errors. In an effort to assist taxpayers through the process, ADOR has prepared some tax tips.


Tips for Preparing Your Return

  • Complete your federal return before you start your Arizona return.
  • Make sure that you enter your Social Security Number (SSN) on your return.
  • If filing a paper return, use black ink on white paper.
  • Round dollar amounts to the nearest whole dollar.
  • Make sure you include your daytime telephone number in case the department has questions.
  • If filing a fiscal year return, fill in the period covered.
  • E-file.

Common Tax Form Answers

  • Even if you are not required to file, you must still file a return to receive a refund of any Arizona income tax withheld.
  • An extension does not extend the time to pay your income tax.
  • Be sure to use your federal adjusted gross income and not your federal taxable income as the starting point for your Arizona return.
  • If you are filing a joint return, enter your SSN in the same order every year.
  • If your 65th birthday was January 1, 2021 (born 1/1/1956), you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2020 for income tax purposes.
  • You cannot claim a dependent tax credit for someone whom you have claimed either as a qualifying parent/grandparent or as an "Other Exemption".
  • The family income tax credit will only reduce your tax and cannot be refunded.
  • There are separate lists for Qualifying Charitable Organizations and Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations, and they are claimed on different forms.  A taxpayer can only claim a tax credit for donations made to certified charities. For donations made in 2020 - use the 2020 list. For donations made in 2021 - use the 2021 list.

Refund and Payment Tips

  • Be sure to enter the correct routing and account numbers as you are responsible for this information. 
  • Check with your financial institution to get the correct routing and account numbers and to make sure direct deposit will be accepted.
  • If the direct deposit is rejected, a check will be mailed instead.
  • Include your check or money order with your return.  Please do not send cash.
  • Write your SSN and tax year on the front of your check or money order.  Include payment with your return.  If sending a paper payment separately, include your voucher.
  • If you change your address before you get your refund, let the department know. Write to Refund Desk, Arizona Department of Revenue, PO Box 29216, Phoenix, AZ 85038-9216. Include your SSN in your letter.

Instructions before Mailing

  • Do not staple any documents, schedules, or payments to your return.
  • Check to make sure that your math is correct. A math error can cause delays in processing your return.
  • Make sure you fill in all required boxes.
  • If you requested a filing extension, make sure that you check box 82F.
  • Sign your return and have your spouse sign if filing jointly.
  • Do not include correspondence with your return.
  • If you mail your return, ensure you send it to the correct address based on if you are making a payment or expecting a refund. Please check the form for mailing instructions.
  • If you pay someone else to prepare your return, that person must also include an identification number where requested. A paid preparer may use any of the following:
    • his or her Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN);
    • his or her Social Security Number; or
    • the Employer Identification Number (EIN) for the business.

For more income tax information and assistance, explore ADOR’s website at



Tuesday, April 27, 2021