More and more Americans are choosing to file their own tax returns each year. An average of thirty-three percent of all Americans provide their own tax filing services, and too many of those people are unknowingly cheating themselves out of hundreds of dollars each year.
If you’re going to make the bold move of filing your own tax return, you need to make sure your mind is fluent in tax speak. Learn something new now, and read through this brief look at a few tips for filing your own taxes.
Know filing deadlines and consequences
Start simple, and familiarize yourself with the necessary deadlines for filing taxes in the U.S. Most people have April 15th memorized as a hard cut-off date for tax filing, but that doesn’t necessarily represent the truth of the matter.
The due date for filing can shift. If April 15th falls on a Sunday, the deadline for that year will be set for a future date. The deadline will never fall earlier than April 15th, and there are always ways to file after the due date.
Make sure it’s necessary for you to file
A lot of people file federal taxes, even when they aren’t really required to do so. Make sure it’s a necessary evil in your life before you put yourself through the clerical annoyance of filing taxes.
If you make less than $12,000 over the span of a year, you are not required to file a federal return form. Most online filing platforms will lead you through a questionnaire that will help you determine whether or not you really need to file.
Gather the necessary documentation
Before sitting down to a nice personal tax session, you want to make sure you have all of the proper documentation gathered together. Otherwise, you will be scurrying around trying to dig up old paperwork to fill in a blank you have come to resent.
Gather together all of your W-2’s for the past year’s work, for starters. Here are a few other pieces of info you may need to complete your filing as well.
- W-2G (Gambling winnings)
- 1099-INT (Interest documentation)
- SSA-1099 (Social security income)
- 1098-E (Student loan interest)
Find a well-built filing platform
There are several different filing platforms online from which to choose, but they are not all created equal. There’s no reason you should have to pay a ridiculous amount to file your taxes, so don’t let an online filing platform charge you an arm and a leg. There are those that will allow you to file for free.
File electronically for a faster return
Set up your electronic PIN for filing your taxes electronically. Your PIN (setup by the government) will act as a signature for your digital paperwork, so you don’t have to physically mail in your finished product.