Tax day this season is April 15, 2019. And, it’s approaching quicker than you might realize.
There has been a lot of talk in the news about tax season. That’s a result of the current government shutdown that’s delaying the return of tax refunds.
But, even though the government is shut down, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to file your taxes. In fact, if anything, that means it’s more important that you file your taxes accurately.
Tax season is a stressful time for many — especially those who aren’t mathematically inclined. I fall into that category for sure.
There are a number of facts, figures, codes, laws, and forms involved. Just thinking about it makes my head spin.
But, living on your own, moving to the big city, and growing up includes filing taxes. So, it’s time to put your grown-up pants on and learn what it takes to file taxes the right way.
They didn’t spend enough time teaching us how to balance our checkbooks, track our expenditures, and file our taxes with the correct deductions and contributions. But, that doesn’t mean we’re doomed.
Filing taxes doesn’t have to be impossible. It doesn’t have to make you want to pull your hair out and scream. Just follow these quick tips and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying that refund.
1. Do Your Research Before You File
Depending on what type of employee you are, you’ll need to file separate tax forms.
This makes things a little bit complicated. That’s why you need to do your research, take a look at your local tax laws, and check out the IRS site to learn what you will need to include.
Some states don’t have state income taxes, for instance! And, depending on whether or not taxes get taken out or your paycheck, you might have to fill out certain forms that require you to pay in advance.
Taxes sound much harder than they actually are. Don’t get me wrong, this paperwork can get difficult. But, if you take the time to do your research, you’ll fee much more confident going forward.
It’s always better to do a quick Google search beforehand — I know I do!
2. Collect Your Tax Returns And Keep Them Safe
All clients and businesses are required to provide you with your tax forms at the beginning of the year. So, in the next few weeks, expect to get a number of emails and letters with your corresponding forms.
Depending on your employee type, you’ll receive 1099s, W2s, and more.
You’ll need these to file your taxes. It’s these forms that tell you, and the government, whether you owe money to the government, or if they owe money to you.
You need to include these forms in your paperwork. And, you need to make sure that all of the information looks accurate.
They need to include your current address, your full pay, and other sensitive, private information to ensure smooth filing.
3. Keep Track Of Your Deductions
So, essentially, tax deductions are super helpful. So, take a look at your expenses and see if any of those transactions apply.
A tax deduction is a reduction in the income that is taxable. Essentially, these deductions reduce your gross pay which means you can’t be taxed for it.
Some important tax deductions to keep note of include charitable donations, federal loans, investment interest, personal property deductions, and more.
Check out the IRS website for a complete list. You might be surprised!
4. Keep All Personal And Tax Information Close By
When you file your taxes, you need to include a lot of information about your employment. But, you also need to include other private details like your social security number, address, investment portfolio, and more.
And, this information isn’t always readily on hand.
As April 15 nears closer, take some time to gather all of this information. Your forms will definitely require you to include any relevant information about stock investments, student loans, deductible transactions, and more.
Don’t be left floundering when the time comes. Get prepared and get organized today.
5. Use Online Resources
Like I’ve said, taxes kind of blow. They’re complicated and lengthy and time-consuming.
In fact, taxpayers in the US spend more time filing their taxes than any other country in the world. As a whole, US citizens spend 10 billion hours filing taxes each year.
But, proper research and top online platforms can help make the process simpler. These resources can answer key questions, fill in the blanks, and ensure you get the most return.
Some top tax resources include:
- Free File Alliance
- For a full list, check out this site.
6. When In Doubt, Ask For Help
I hate asking for help, believe me. But, I also know that filing taxes is a big deal. And, sometimes, you just have to admit you need some help.
In situations like this, you can turn to online tax filing platforms like TurboTax that make the process much easier and less stressful on you. These online filers cost a fee — but they also take the guesswork out of the whole venture.
Similarly, you can hire an accountant to keep track of your finances, deal with all of your receipts, and account for any necessary deductions and tax breaks.
This is a great option for those who have the money to spare and want that confidence that their taxes will get filed the right way.
Don’t let tax season send you into a spiral. Just follow these tips and you’ll feel like a tax champion.