When tax season comes around every year, many people are very apprehensive and stressed out over filing and preparing their taxes. Most individuals choose to avoid the hassle and have them prepared and filed by an accountant, which can be very costly. In addition, most accountants will not spend the extra time to review your return several times to look for as many deductions as possible in order to give you a bigger return.
Preparing and filing your own tax returns, however, has become much easier and less stressful. With some basic knowledge of how tax laws work and the use of online resources such as www.irs.gov, it is possible to easily and conveniently file your own taxes, by yourself, from home.
The first step is to get organized! With organization, preparing and filing taxes is just a matter of filling in the correct information. For individuals who are regular employees, the following applies: By separating everything into piles or folders, one can easily get totals for the figures necessary to prepare your return. These include, but are not limited to: income from all sources, and itemized deductions or expenses, which are put on “Schedule A” of Form 1040 (which include medical and dental expenses, taxes paid, interest paid, charitable gifts, and employee expenses for which you may qualify).
It is also helpful to keep track of your expenses throughout the year by imputing them into programs such as Quicken or Quickbooks, and then at the end of the year your totals are easily accessible. By creating a folder for the pending year tax season, one will be better prepared when it comes time to preparing taxes. This folder can include any forms necessary, w-2’s, mortgage letters, tax records, financial records, and important receipts.
As far as which programs to use, Turbo Tax is just about the best, easiest, and user friendly out there. In addition, for individuals who meet certain criteria with lower incomes or who are in the military, they can qualify for free federal tax return filing through Intuit Tax Freedom Project. (www.taxfreedom.com) This site will take you to the free online Turbo Tax software where one can prepare and file your taxes. If you do not qualify for free Federal Return filing, Turbo Tax Online is still cheaper and easier than having taxes prepared by an accountant. What is the best about Turbo Tax Online is that it is online software, there is no software to download and install, and it is updated every year. There is no need to purchase new software every year. It will store your previous filing years with them which you can view at any time, and easily convert and transfer your information from the previous year to the year in which you are filing. The best feature is that it is possible to look over your return an unlimited amount of times before you file, to make sure you did not forget everything. It has an error check, online tutorials and help sections, and is very easy to follow.
When you are ready to file, it will file your state and federal returns together with the click of the mouse, keep track and communicate with you as to the status of your return and or refund; and it is possible to get a return with direct deposit into a bank account in as little as nine days from your filing date. With today’s technology, there is clearly no reason to pay a high priced accountant anymore.