File Your Own Taxes-Start With Organizing
If you want to file your own taxes this year to save some money rather than paying a professional to do it you need to know some things first. You can’t file until you have everything in order. This includes waiting until the end of January for the W-2 you will get from your employer. Other things you may need are any 1099 forms, interest and dividend forms and the forms for filing your 1040A or other forms and schedules, too.
I do not think that the IRS sends out the federal form any more like they used to so you will need to download all the forms and schedules you need from the IRS website. Do yourself a favor and either download two of everything or make yourself some copies so you can figure everything out before you complete the form you will send in.
You may choose to do an e-file, too. This is faster and more convenient and if you are eligible to receive a refund you can have it directly deposited into your checking account. If you file your own taxes this is the best way to go. Still do all the work first on a copy so you know whether or not you have made any mistakes then keep the actual form for your records.
Even if you do e-file, make sure the form you keep is filled out completely with your name, address, filing status, exemptions and all other pertinent information like salary, wages and tips.
Add in any other income you receive including any gambling winnings, IRA savings, alimony payments, etc. These are all taxable income that needs to be claimed on your tax form. If you have no other income then your “adjusted Gross Income will be the same number you entered on the line for salary, wages and tips.
This number then gets entered on the first line of the next page. Now comes the fun part. See how many credits and deductions you can find to reduce the amount of all that taxable income. The more you can reduce it the less tax you will be required to pay. No cheating though, follow the instructions closely and figure everything out as accurately as you can.
You will be asked to subtract your total credits and deductions from your adjusted gross income at this point. Now you get to hunt through the booklet you received or the tax table on the website to find out what the tax is on the amount you figured for your income. Write this number in the line provided on the form.
Compare this to the tax you paid in, which also has to be listed on the tax form. If you paid in more than is required you are eligible to receive the difference in a refund check. If that number is larger than what you paid in then you owe the IRS some money. Sign the form and write a check for the money you owe and put it in the mail. If you are a little short put in as much as you can and then make payment arrangements to pay off the rest of what you owe.