Adulting is hard, but Ōdulting is easy!
Tax season is upon us…again! With crazy laws, hard-to-read documents and a sprinkle of math, taxes aren’t exactly easy to understand, but it’s important you get them right. If you feel like you’re in over your head, don’t worry. You’re in the right place. Here’s how to get started with your taxes.
Step 1: Collect Yourself
Your mailbox will soon be full of documents needed for your taxes, and there is some information you’ll need to know to get ready to file. Be sure to put all of these things in one place — like a big folder.
Information To Collect:
- SSN (for you, your spouse and children)
- Birth dates (again, for you and anyone else filing with you)
- Tuition expenses
- Donation records
- Vehicle Sales Tax payment
- Payments for daycare or babysitter
- Last year’s tax return
- A good mailing address and email
- Medical expense receipts
- Bank account information for direct deposits
Things That Will Be Sent To You:
- Income Statement
- W-2 (employed)
- 1099 (self-employed)
- Form 8332 (child’s custodial parent is releasing their right to claim a child to you, the noncustodial parent)
- Property Taxes
- 1099-INT Forms (bank account interest)
- Medical expenses along with 1095 form for insurance
Now we don’t expect you to remember this whole list, so we have created a handy-dandy checklist you can take along with you.
Step 2: Figure out how to file
There are tons of options these days when it comes to filing taxes. You can:
- You can use a service like Turbo Tax, Tax Slayer, etc.
- Old Fashioned paper & mail
- You can print or find this option at your local post office.
With a certified tax accountant:
- Individual, small business
- These are local tax accountants that offer tax filing services, but aren’t a part of a big company. They are often friendly and will work with you to understand the best way to file. They may be listed online or advertised around town during tax season.
- Large Corporation
- These include national companies like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt.
There are pros and cons to both filing yourself and hiring an accountant, but the choice you make will often boil down to cost and time spent.
Doing your taxes yourself is free but takes a lot longer. Hiring someone is quick and easy but not always cheap (often $100+). You may be able to find a happy medium with a self-guided service (i.e., Turbotax or Taxslayer) that walks you through how to do your own taxes for a small fee or even free if you qualify. Ultimately, you will have to make this call based on your confidence in doing your taxes yourself. One great thing to remember is we live in the age of Google, so there are tons of websites, Youtube videos and programs available to help you learn and succeed. No matter which option you choose, you got this! You’ve already prepped your important documents on the front end, which is the hard part, so you are killing it!
You have to file your taxes by April 15, 2020, but why wait that long?
As soon as you have all your documents, go ahead and file your taxes. The sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your tax return (normally within 21 days if you file electronically).
You will also get your money quicker if you select Direct Deposit on your tax refund. This gets rid of the need to wait for a check to come through the mail.
That’s it! You have prepared and filed your taxes. Now you’re just waiting on that sweet, sweet refund cash — unless you’re a true Ōdult, of course. Ōdulting pros know the next step is getting a head start on next year’s taxes or figuring out what you’re going to do with that refund money!