I remember the first time I did my taxes – I was so nervous. I was afraid that if I filled out something wrong, I’d get a call from the IRS and a huge penalty. It didn’t help that I tried to do it by hand.
It’s almost like a rite of passage – preparing your own taxes. You may have filed your taxes for a summer job as a teenager, but your parents probably helped (if they were nice).
Now that you’re all grown up, here are four tips that can help you as you start out as a new tax filer:
1. Get Organized
One of the best things you can do is get organized.
Gather the forms that your employer and other financial institutions send you like your W-2 and 1099s. Your employer, lenders, and others will send you forms that have bearing on your tax situation. Keep all of these forms organized in a single place as you get them in. You should also keep relevant receipts and other documentation that can back you up if you are claiming tax deductions and credits.
The more organized you are, the easier it is to find what you’re looking for.
2. See If You Qualify to File for Free
Many first time tax filers qualify for free federal tax filing. If you just have a W-2 and a little bank interest you can file your federal taxes quickly and accurately for free. TurboTax will ask you simple questions about your life and in a few steps you will be able to file your taxes and receive your biggest tax refund.
3. Don’t Forget State Taxes
It’s easy to get caught up in federal taxes and forget that you have to file a state tax return. Don’t forget that you will need to file a state tax return and federal tax return unless you live in a state without state taxes. TurboTax automatically transfers all of your information from your federal tax return and prepares your state tax return for you after you answer simple questions about your life over the past year.
4. File Online
It’s easy to prepare your own tax return online. I would recommend using tax software because something that simple is often free. This kind of do-it-yourself help can be a good way to get a solid grasp of your tax situation plus you can e-file with direct deposit for your fastest tax refund.
TurboTax asks you simple questions about your life and accurately prepares your tax return. You don’t need to know anything about the tax code. TurboTax will give you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for so that you get your biggest tax refund.