Some Tips On Doing Your Own Taxes

Trying to do your own taxes may appear daunting, in a lot of cases however it is really not that difficult. In order to be successful with it though, you will need an accurate record of your expenses and incomes, and will also need to become familiar with the available tax codes. If you have questions for a tax professional on this topic just ask your question ateHow.com.

Instructions

1
You should generally stay organize and keep a record of your incomes and expenses throughout the entire year. You will need a dedicated binder or file system to keep your tax related files/documents together.

2
You should know the type of deductions you can make from your total income. You will need to itemize your deductions or take a standard deduction. Using some calculations or a tax software can help you to determine which is better for you. If your medical costs are low, and you are not paying a lot of mortgage interests or taxes on real estate, it may be better for you to take a standard deduction with your filings.

3
You will also need to become familiar with the tax forms. A lot of households will generally file the Form 1040. You can provide the details of your incomes online or may fill them in on the W-2s tax forms. If you had earned over $400 in self-employed incomes through freelancing etc, you will need to fill the Schedule C and SE forms and will need to deduct any business related expense against your self-employed income.

4
You should make use of some tax file and software online for accuracy and simplicity. You can make use of free software like TaxAct, TurboTax etc. Some banks (USAA etc) may provide some eFile services for free too.

5
You may key in your deductions, income, personal information and tax credits into a tax software/application or you can fill them in on some paper tax forms. You will need to include your W2 forms with your paper forms, or you can fill in your information when you are filing or generally doing your own taxes.

6
You can file your tax returns and then provide your bank details for direct withdrawal/deposit or could mail in your check. When you file your tax on the web, you should get an email acknowledgement, returns that you mailed will generally not get an acknowledgement however. If you get a refund or your payment is withdrawn from your specified bank account, you will then know that you have done what you should do right.

Tips And Warnings

For taxes that are complicated and other issues you should contact an accountant.

You should also avoid getting any red flags with your tax filings (some tax software can alert you on this), in order to reduce the likelihood of your refund being audited by the IRS.

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What Not To Do On Your Taxes According to Experts

Being careful is import when completing your taxes and this year should make you a little bit nervous if you are preparing your taxes yourself. Even professionals are making a lot of mistakes according to the Government Accountability Office.

In a study done in 2014, 10% of preparers did not calculate a normal tax return correctly. The final error rates for tax preparation according to the study was 50% for self-prepared returns and 60% for professionally prepared returns. Of course, the professionals more than likely handle the tough returns. Still, those are alarming numbers.

Some errors are obvious mistakes while others are harder to deduct, keep these difficult areas in mind this tax season: foreign investments, charitable giving, real estate taxes, gambling winnings, and state refunds.

Seal of the General Accounting Office, from 19...

Seal of the General Accounting Office, from 1921 until being renamed in 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have foreign investment accounts or savings accounts, make sure to report them to the IRS. If the IRS is able to discover the account later, you can face a penalty up to $10,000.

When making contributions to charity, keep a record so you can prove that you gave to a qualified charity. And when purchasing an item for a charity event, you can only deduct the portion above the value you are receiving.

Real Estate taxes can be a trick if you just purchased the home as some are paid on the closing statement. And an office in the home is a great deduction, but make sure not to claim more space than the office occupies.

If you have gambling winnings during the year, offset those winnings with loses you experienced and documented. You can’t take a lose of gambling, but limiting the amount of your winnings that is taxable is really nice.

Finally state refunds. State refunds on tax return filings are taxable the next year as income on the federal return. Yet federal tax refunds are not taxable, you get to keep the full amount of those funds.

 

 

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File Early With Free TurboTax Online

It definitely pays to file your taxes early, and according to the IRS about 14 million tax returns had been filed by the end of January, with just over 90 percent of thee filed electronically. These six reasons may help to convince you it’s a good idea to file early using free TurboTax online:

The average refund last year was about $2,800 and almost 75 percent of tax filers received a refund and of course a tax refund can be used for whatever you need it for.

Filing taxes with TurboTax early means that the IRS can send your information to FAFSA in plenty of time and this means that you can potentially receive financial aid for college, depending on your income.

Free TurboTax online is accurate and quick to use, and of course it is guaranteed to give you the most refund and to save you money. Standing in line at your local tax preparation office is a thing of the past with TurboTax and the system’s simple to answer questions will allow the program to search through over 350 credits and tax deductions.

If you file electronically with direct deposit, the IRS expects to issue 90 percent of tax refunds within 21 days, meaning that you can get that much needed tax refund as quickly as possible. You can save up to a couple of months of interest just by paying off debts such as credit cards sooner rather than later.

Many tax procrastinators make simple mistakes on their ta return such as putting down the wrong social security number or not signing their tax return. It is also very easy to rush through your ta return if you are trying to do it at the last possible minute, and filing your tax return ahead of time can avoid these errors and make sure that you take the time to do everything thoroughly and accurately.

TurboTax really can save you time and money and get you the biggest possible tax return as quickly as possible. Using free TurboTax online allows you to have more of your money to spend and to file your return completely and accurately.

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Taxes 2014: What You Should Know To File

The tax filing season starts at the end of Jan. The IRS said that people can start filing their taxes 2014 returns on January 20.

Despite a last minute tax law that was passed by Congress, the tax-filing season will still start on schedule, according to the IRS.

Congress passed a bill that extended more than 50 tax breaks, which were due to expire next year. Under the new law, the breaks will not expire anytime soon, which allows taxpayers to claim them when they go and file their taxes. The law was signed by the president on December 19.

In the past, when tax laws were passed at the last minute, the filing season was delayed. However, that is not the case this time around, according to the IRS Commissioner.

 

The Commissioner said that the agency has reviewed all of the changes and they feel as if there is nothing that can prevent them from updating their systems and testing it out.

Many returns are filed during the first few weeks of the season, and this is mainly due to the fact that taxpayers want their refunds as soon as possible.

The IRS said that most refunds were issued within 21 days, if those returns were electronically filed. In the past, the agency said that filing taxes this way is the quickest way to receive a refund.

Refunds average around $2,800, and taxpayers should use TurboTax to file their tax returns, as they are a reputable service that has helped many taxpayers.

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The Sharing Economy Can Make You Money

Taxation of this Sharing Economy:

The Internet, along with its rising social media, has created some very new opportunities for people to earn extra cash. This ‘sharing economy’ theme is defined as this – Putting up some unused resource either for sale or for rent (like a skill, parked vehicle, or empty room). This might seem a bit minor at first, but according to one statistic, this sharing economy actually represents as much as a $110 Billion dollar market.

One community marketplace for finding or listing or booking lodging all over the world, is Airbnb. This is done on the Internet and by mobile phones. They carry more than 500,000 listings for 33,000 cities, in 192 countries worldwide.

The Benefits:

If a taxpayer rents out a property for less than 15 days a year, they don’t have to report that income or the expenses on their tax returns. This enables them to rent out property for short periods of time with NO TAX liabilities. In order to qualify for this exception, all you have to do is use your home personally for over 14 days, or for 10% of the overall number of days, that you rented it out to other people for a fair price.

Another Investment Possibility: Prosper and LendingClub

If you are not someone with a spare bedroom or car that you can share, but you have available cash sitting around, you can make some money this way. Peer to peer lending through sites like Prosper or LendingClub gives you the opportunity to earn some extra cash. They allow individuals to either lend or borrow money, with a certain degree of anonymity, using interest rates that are credit score based. Risk levels are also factored in. Both of these sites will allow investors to lend out their money in increments as low as $25.

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Create Your Post-College Budget In 6 Easy Steps

Establish A Post-College Budget In Just 6 Steps

Congratulations on having earned your diploma and on having received a job offer. This time of life is guaranteed to be exciting.

As you begin planning your next moves, it is vital to have a budget. How do you create a post-college budget? Following are several things that I discovered after having graduated and started my first adult job.

Consider Your Monthly Income

Investment

Investment (Photo credit: LendingMemo)

You might have an awesome starting salary, but you should not use this figure to write out your budget. Determine how much you’re going to be bringing in after taxes every month instead. Remember that federal taxes, social security and Medicare are all going to be deducted from your check.

Employees are going to have to pay 6.2% of their wage earnings, up to minimum wage. A tax rate of 1.45% is paid for Medicare. If you are self-employed, however, these rates are going to be double.

Next, figure your federal income tax rate according to your projected earnings. You will be surprised by how much is going to be deducted from your check.

Think About Retirement
Decide how much you are going to invest in your 401k. Will your employer be matching your 401k? Use this match to your benefit as it is included in your compensation. Invest the minimum in order to receive this match.

If you are able to, make an immediate effort to max out your 401k. Should you invest with pre-tax money, this is going to lower the rate for your federal income tax at the year’s end. Always use low-cost funds to invest.
H&R Block gives amazing tips for investing.

Take Advantage of Pre-Tax Dollars

Use a Health Savings Account or a Flexible Savings Account to save pre-tax dollars. Do you have forthcoming medical expenses that you can cover with pre-tax money? Braces, contacts, glasses, doctor visits and prescriptions are things that you can use this money for. These savings are automatic.

Wisely Choose Your Housing
It is very easy to move into a luxury apartment after graduating. This is what I did. In retrospect, I wish I chose an apartment that was more affordable.

Housing advice varies. Some people say that you should spend no more than 30% of your earnings for a rental or 28% for your mortgage.

List Your Monthly Expenses
List all of the bills that you need to pay each month including sewage, water, rent, Internet, electricity, groceries, cable, car insurance, gym fees, debt payments, renter’s insurance, cell phone services, etc. You will have to allocate you monthly earnings for these expenses. Budgets are used to track and manage this spending.

Save Money!
Put aside monies to create an emergency fund. You never know when car maintenance issues and other expenses will arise.

You can also invest in a traditional IRA or ROTH to take your savings plan a bit further.

Creating a solid financial house early in life will assure you of a comfortable financial future.

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