Doing Taxes by Yourself
Doing Taxes by Yourself? Follow Our 10 Tips for an Easy Filing
Can I file my tax return by myself? You bet. If you’re a novice at doing taxes by yourself, and are afraid you’ll mess things up, don’t despair. Or maybe you’ve been using a high priced accounting firm and aren’t sure what to do. We have the solution designed for you to breeze right through. The following 10 tips will help to get you started on the right path. You’ll learn how to do taxes yourself step-by step.
1. Make sure you know when the deadlines are
– Normally, the filing deadline for personal tax returns is April 15, unless that day falls on a weekend or holiday. When doing taxes by yourself, be sure to file taxes electronically by that date.
If you plan on sending them in by mail, and we do not recommend this, make sure they are postmarked by that date. Due to the IRS staffing problems and the recurring problems with the postal service, we recommend using certified mail so that you have a receipt.
As you are probably aware, filing deadlines were extended due to Covid for 2020 returns. Some states even extended dates for payments to July. As of this date, we’re not aware of any plans to extend the date for filing 2021 tax returns in 2022. Stay tuned, however, because things change rather quickly.
Keep an eye out as well in your state of residence. They may or may not stick with the April 15 filing date to coincide with the IRS.
2. If doing taxes by yourself, make sure you actually need to file
– Just because you had some income for the tax year, it doesn’t mean that you are required to file a return. There can be several reasons, such as income below the filing threshold, or dependents on someone’s tax return. Before you file your own taxes, check the income filing limits with the IRS.
If you’re doing your own taxes, and aren’t sure, you can visit the IRS website and use the Interactive Tax Assistant. This handy tool will ask you a few questions about your income, filing status, and if you had any federal taxes withheld on your income.
3. Always review last year’s tax return
– When you’re doing taxes by yourself, it’s a good idea to review the previous year’s tax return and maybe the supporting documentation to make sure nothing is missed. For most taxpayers, the tax information usually doesn’t change much from year to year.
Use that review to make sure all names, addresses, dependents, and social security numbers are correct. If not, the IRS will reject the return when you file taxes electronically, and any refunds will be delayed.
We highly recommend that you use an online tax filing site such as ours at EZOnlineTaxes.com. By doing so, you’ll be assured of an accurate return. Besides that, and also important, you can do the entire process for a flat fee of $25. That includes your federal return, state return and electronic filing too. You won’t find this at turbotax or the other big guys.
4. Get organized & gather all of your tax documents
– Before you start doing taxes by yourself, get all tax forms sent to you, including ones you download, and organize them. Some of the forms would be W-2, 1099 forms for interest and dividends, unemployment compensation, retirement distributions, and rent or royalty income.
For expenses on Schedule A, itemized deductions, there are various forms here too, such as a 1098 for for mortgage interest paid to your lender. If you’re claiming medical expenses or charitable contributions, get the receipts & canceled checks.
5. Gather all forms & expenses to itemize deductions
– When you’re doing your own tax return, you will have the option to itemize your expenses on Schedule A or use the standard deduction that many taxpayers now use. Using the standard deduction is easier, but don’t just assume that it’s the best way for you to do taxes online.
There are times when it will benefit you the most by listing your eligible expenses and itemize those deductions. If you have a lot of out of pocket medical expenses like medical insurance premiums, prescriptions, doctors and hospitals, and dental, then it may qualify.
If you’re buying a home, there will be real estate taxes and mortgage interest to deduct. If you have receipts for charitable contributions, these may qualify as well. A word of caution though, if you made gifts of non-cash items like clothing or household items, you can only deduct the current fair market value. Don’t go overboard here as it could trigger an audit. There are websites that give you a fair market value for various items in good condition.
A word of caution on medical insurance premiums too. You can only deduct those premiums that were paid with after tax dollars. If your employer has a Section 125 plan, and medical insurance premiums are paid, they are paid with pre-tax money and are not deductible.
You have no need to worry if you make the right choice between itemizing or using the standard deduction. At EZOnlineTaxes.com, we feel that we have the best tax software that takes the guesswork out of this process. It will automatically calculate the best way to file your taxes and uses that method.
6. You may have to file a state return too
– After you complete the federal return, remember that you may have to file a state tax return too. The seven states that have no income tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Two states, New Hampshire and Tennessee tax interest and dividends over a certain minimum amount.
So if you don’t live in any of those states, you will probably have to file a state return too. No need again, to worry about this requirement. Our great program at EZOnlineTaxes.com knows all of these rules, and will prepare the state return too, if required, automatically.
7. Do a review after completing the returns
– If you decided to do taxes online with us at EZOnlineTaxes.com, you’ll have the opportunity to do a complete review of your tax return as soon as you finish entering the information.
We recommend starting at the top on page 1, beginning with your name and address, and verify each section for typos, omissions, etc. Double check your SSN too. Make sure none of the numbers entered haven’t been transposed or otherwise entered incorrectly.
Our intuitive program will have already done its calculations and any tax credits or other deductions that you qualify for, are entered in the review for you to see. Sometimes, doing taxes by yourself, can be a concern. You may wonder if you did everything correctly, and have all credits.
8. Ask for an extension if you have to
– Sometimes even after you’ve done your best to get all of your forms and expenses organized, there may be a form missing that you need to complete the return. If you don’t think it will arrive in time for you to make the April 15 deadline, then by all means, request an extension from the IRS.
You don’t have to wait for them to approve it either, you can get an automatic 6 month extension up to October 15, simply by completing the Form 4868 and e-filing it from the tax program. As soon as the IRS acknowledges receipt, usually in one day, you’ve got it.
Be advised however, that the extension is only for filing your tax return. You don’t get an extension to pay any additional taxes that may be due. You’re expected to make a calculation to see if any additional taxes may be due, and if so, to pay them by the April 15 deadline.
If you happen to be strapped for cash, and not able to pay all of the taxes due, you can file a request on Form 9465 to repay the balance on a monthly payment arrangement. Generally, if the request is no longer than a 12 month period, it is automatically approved. Just be absolutely sure to pay every payment by the date specified, or the agreement is nullified.
9. File taxes electronically
– This is the only way to go as far as we are concerned. It’s not only fast, convenient, and secure, but you get a receipt, usually in one day, that the IRS has it when they acknowledge it. Mailing a hard copy is very slow, insecure, and you have no idea when the IRS receives it.
In addition to filing electronically, we highly recommend using the direct deposit method if you have a refund due. Again, this is faster and not handled by the postal service. The IRS will transmit your refund directly to your checking or savings account at your bank.
10. Check back to track your tax filing
– When you file your taxes with EZOnlineTaxes.com, you can go to your account and track the progress of your filing. The IRS acknowledgement will be seen usually in one day and the state return in a day or two more. If you have a refund due, you can track it after about a week and find out when it will be sent to your bank account.
Easy and secure income tax filing
Doing taxes by yourself doesn’t have to be hard, and to be sure, if you use our program, it is very easy and fast. We highly recommend that you do not download paper forms from the IRS, fill them out, and then mail them. This can be a disaster waiting to happen.
Once your returns are filed and refunds received, our system will store your basic information such as name, address, SSN, dependents, and even carryover tax items if you have any, to next year. No need to input all this information over and over.
So, if you do your taxes online with us, you can experience a stress free process plus outstanding USA based and trained tech support. Give us a try for free with no obligation whatsoever.