First-Time Filing – 5 Tips to Take the Stress Out of Filing Your Own Taxes for the First Time

First-Time Filing – 5 Tips to Take the Stress Out of Filing Your Own Taxes for the First Time
Let’s face it – filing taxes is not the most exciting thing you’re going to do this year. In fact, it can be quite overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. However, it’s an essential part of adulting, and since you’re going to do it for the rest of your adult life, you might as well learn how to get it right early.  Here are some tips on how to file your taxes without the stress:
  1. Get Professional Help
You can hire a tax professional such as a certified public accountant to do your taxes, or you can use an online tax return company. The IRS’s Free File service gives you access to tax preparation software and electronic filing free of charge thanks to a partnership between the IRS and tech software companies. Free File will do the math for you, helping you avoid errors and finding all the credits and deductions for which you’re eligible. Regardless of how you file, it’s advisable to get your refund via direct deposit to eliminate the risk of your cheque getting lost in the mail. As a bonus, you’ll get your refund faster.
  1. Know Your Documents
In order to file your taxes, you’re going to need a tax identification number. You’ll also need your social security number or your tax identification if you have a W-9 form. Don’t forget your routing number and a checking account number as well if you’re trying to get a direct deposit for your tax refund.
  1. Know Your W’s:
Your IRS W forms, that is. First off, you have IRS-form W-4, which is the form your employer uses to withhold taxes from your paycheck to pay the IRS. This form should be filled out if you get a new job, get married, or have a kid. Fill it out on the IRS website where you’ll also find a calculator that’ll tell you how much taxes you need to withhold from your check based on how much you’re making. This helps you ensure you’re not paying the government too much money. The other W form to know about is the W-9, which is for contractors. As an independent contractor, it’s your responsibility to pay your own taxes, and you’ll need the W-9 form to do it.
  1. Be On Time
Set a reminder to file your taxes so you don’t miss the tax filing window. The good news is that you’re just starting out, so it should be pretty simple. Filing your taxes only gets complicated if you own a business or are married with children.
  1. Don’t Forget Your Deductions
There are two types of deductions to consider when filing your taxes: standardized deductions and itemized deductions. The standardized deduction is a consistent amount that the IRS allows you to deduct each year. Itemized deductions include things like student loan interest as well as donations to charity and car loan interest. Make sure to keep your receipts as you go through transactions each year so you can claim those deductions. You can use a mobile app to track your expenses as you go along, making it easier to keep your records up to date for tax time. Tax filing time is not a happy time for most people because the whole process can be quite overwhelming. Hopefully, these tips will make your first rodeo that much easier.
Christie Lewis
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