Most people can agree that filing taxes can be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you’re not familiar with numbers and taxes. However, with a bit of knowledge and preparation, you can file your taxes like a pro. In this article, we will discuss some tips to help you navigate the tax filing process.
Keep reading our guide below to learn our top tips.
One of the first things you need to do is get organized and gather all of your documents.
This includes your W-2 form, 1099 forms (if you received them), and any other tax-related document. Being organized will ensure that you don’t have to deal with the California state tax levy or other penalties. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork before you start the process, because this can save you time and a ton of frustration down the road.
Decide Which Filing Method You Want
Once you have all your documents, you need to choose how you want to file your taxes. You have two options: paper filing or electronic filing.
Electronic filing tends to be faster and a lot more convenient, because you can file your taxes from the comfort of your own home. There are a few free online tax preparation services available that can help you file your taxes electronically.
Choose Your Filing Status
Your filing status is going to determine how much you owe in taxes and which tax forms you need to fill out. There are five filing statuses you can choose from: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child. Choose the status that applies to your situation and make sure to fill out the appropriate tax forms.
If you really don’t know which route to take it is best to consult an accountant to ensure that you file correctly and also choose the best filing status option for you.
Become Familiar With Your Deductions and Credits
Make sure you know what deductions you qualify for and take advantage of these. Deductions can help lower your taxable income and reduce the amount of taxes you owe. Some of the most common deductions are charitable contributions, medical expenses, and mortgage interest. If you’re not sure what deductions you qualify for, consult with a tax professional or do some research online.
Also, don’t forget about tax credits. Tax credits can also help reduce your tax liability. Familiarize yourself with the different tax credits available, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Retirement Savings Contributions Credit. Make sure to claim any tax credits you are eligible for to help lower your tax bill.
Call in the Pros
If you are not familiar with taxes and tax laws, then it is best to contact the pros. Hire a tax professional that can help you navigate all the ins and outs of the tax world. If you are a bit familiar with taxes, then you might want to opt for tax software instead.
Look Over Your Numbers
When it comes to filing your taxes, accuracy is essential. Double-check all your calculations and make sure all the numbers add up correctly. If you’re filing electronically, most tax preparation software will do the calculations for you, but it’s still a good idea to review everything before submitting.
Take the time to double-check all your work. This will keep you from dealing with costly mistakes in the future.
Sign Everything and File on Time
Last, but not least, you have to sign and date your return. If you’re filing electronically, you may need to provide an electronic signature. If you’re filing a paper return, make sure you sign and date it before mailing it in. Failure to sign your tax return can result in delays or even penalties.
You also have to make sure you file your tax return on time because if you don’t, you can accumulate penalties along with interest charges. The deadline for filing your federal tax return is typically April 15th, but as of the writing of this post the deadline has been extended until April 18, 2023. If for any reason you can’t file by the deadline there is the option to request an extension.
Ready to File Your Taxes Like a Pro?
Filing your taxes doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, but if you follow our tips above and are prepared, you can file your taxes like a pro.
Remember to gather all your documents, choose your filing method, know your deductions, double-check your math, and don’t forget to sign. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, consider consulting with a tax professional to ensure you’re getting the most out of your tax return.