Tax Filing Tips: What First Timers Need to Know
If you have recently entered the workforce, you are probably very excited to receive your first paycheck! Living independently is exciting, but thinking about filing your first tax return can seem a bit overwhelming. You may have heard horror stories about how much time preparing and filing your return takes or perhaps a friend or family member has been audited and you are concerned about that possibility. Rest assured, you can handle this. Follow a few easy tips and you will be all set come tax time!
1. Set aside time to prepare and stick to it
A great strategy for getting started is setting aside dedicated time to work on your taxes. We recommend looking at all of your documentation in mid-late February (all forms should be sent to you by the end of January). Some concrete things you can do to prepare is to be sure that you’ve received a W-2 form from any/all employers. If you own a home, you should also look out for a 1099 for any interest that you have paid throughout the year.
Most experts say that first time tax filers should use the 1040EZ to get started. You can print this out and begin filling out boxes. Be sure that you transfer exact information requested from your W-2 or other forms. All of the boxes are labeled to make it easier. If you want to bypass this step, you can utilize inexpensive (or sometimes free) tax software. Software can help lead you through the process and make sure that you do not make careless arithmetic errors.
One key thing to remember, especially if you itemize your deductions is to be sure that you have back-up documentation for anything that might be questioned. We recommend that you keep a paper copy of your tax return along with paper documents as well as an electronic copy in the event that you happen to get audited (remember that this is actually very unusual).
4. Read up
There are many online resources to help you with questions about your filing status, tax forms, and the process of filing a return. You can even ask questions in tax forums and get free help if you need it. The IRS website also has a lot of information for individuals completing their tax return.
If you have done research, asked questions and still are left scratching your head about your tax return, do not hesitate to get help. Tax firms are set up to help first timers, those with routine returns, complicated returns and those who are being audited. You may decide to bring your return (already completed) to a tax firm for a review. You may decide to ask a tax firm to complete your first return so that you know it is done correctly.
If you do choose to seek the assistance of a tax firm this year, consider calling Success Tax Relief. With over 30 years of experience helping individuals just like you, we understand the stress that can come with tax returns and other tax issues, so contact us today to discover how we can help you!