Tax time is here and by now some of you might already have your return filed and your refund deposited into your bank account. If so, then give yourself a pat on the back for being one of the “first responders” so to speak. However, at this early stage in the game most people are likely either still waiting for their refund or they haven’t quite found the time to file just yet. If you still are among the millions that have yet to turn in your tax return, don’t fret. You still have plenty of time. The first thing you need to decide is whether or not you are going to do your taxes yourself or if you are going to hire a professional.
DIY or Use a Professional?
For some people the thought of doing their own taxes can be quite daunting. Filing your own taxes is scary proposition for many taxpayers, especially if you have a lot of different kinds of income, credits and deductions. However, you can find help online and if you take your time you can do it without having to pay a professional. On the other and, if you just aren’t sure how to do your own taxes and you really are in a bind, then get some professional help. It’s better to pay someone a small fee and get your return right than to do it yourself and get it wrong. That could cost you a lot more money in the long run. For those of you who are ready to take on this tax season head on without the help of a professional, read on for some helpful advice.
Use Available Online Resources
Every year, a new generation of taxpayers is born. Perhaps this year marks the first time that you will be filing a tax return. If so, you probably have a lot of questions. That’s OK, because it’s always a good idea to ask questions. The first thing you need to do is get prepared and that means get organized. Save all your important tax documents and records and keep them organized in a way that makes sense to you. If you’re new to filing taxes you also need to learn how the process works. There are dozens of helpful online tools to help you file your taxes and for many first-timers those tax filing services are free. Because most first-time taxpayers don’t have to fill out a lot of complicated forms and worksheets, their returns are usually very straightforward.
Be Aware of Your Deductions and Credits
Anther important tip to keep in mind if you are going to file your own return is to learn about all the deductions and credits that might be available to you. You will not qualify for all of the possible credits and you won’t have every available deduction, but knowing what’s out there will help ensure that you don’t miss out on any valuable money saving items. To that end, another important tip to remember is to double-check your return before you file. Make sure you take the time to get everything right. Any errors could delay your refund and if they are bad enough, you could end up paying fines or penalties, or even lose your entire refund altogether.
Take Your Time and Double Check
It pays to make sure you get it right even if it takes longer to get your taxes done. Also, remember to print a copy of your return, even if you use an electronic program to fill out and file your return. This will give you extra security in the event your return is lost or falls victim to a computer issue. Lastly, make sure you sign your return. Without a signature your refund will be delayed. You don’t have to pay someone else to file your taxes, even if this is your first time. Don’t let tax season scare you. Face it head on.