Tax Filing Made Easy

Tax Filing Made Easy
February 7, 2019

Tax season has arrived and people across the country are letting out a collective sigh. While the process of filing your taxes can seem stressful, it doesn’t have to be!

Follow these helpful hints and you’ll be a tax filing expert in no time:

1. Stay informed

In 2017, Congress passed a new tax plan. It went into effect this year and could affect various aspects of your return. Tax brackets have been updated, state and local taxes (SALT) have been capped, and certain tax credits have been expanded while others have been eliminated entirely. You can learn more about those changes in this Credit Karma article. Be sure to plan accordingly or you could be unpleasantly surprised.

2. Get organized

Organizing your documents will, without a doubt, make filing your taxes much easier. If you’re filing with a spouse or you’ve had multiple jobs within the last year, create separate piles for W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and other documents, such as 1098 and 1098-T forms for homeowners and individuals paying off student loans. Consider using H&R Block’s tax preparation checklist to ensure you have all the necessary documents.

3. Make a list of deductions and tax credits

Thinking about various deductions you may qualify for can be hard to do on the spot. Instead of waiting to think about your deductions until you’re in the process of filing, make a list beforehand. Qualifying deductions include charitable donations, student loan interest, and last year’s state tax. Don’t overlook tax credits, such as the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, either!

4. Decide how you’re going to file

There are so many options for filing taxes these days. You can choose from a variety of online tax filing websites, such as H&R Block, TurboTax, and Credit Karma Tax, or work with an in-person tax preparer. Although filing online is typically cheaper, it may be helpful to enlist the help of a tax preparer if you have a complicated tax situation and you’re unsure about what documents you need to file and what deductions you can get.

5. Sign your return and wait on your refund

While this point seems like common sense, it’s actually pretty common for people to forget to sign their tax returns which increases the time they’ll have to wait to receive their refund. Double check your return before filing and wait on your refund. Some people use tax preparation companies that offer advance loans in the amount of their expected refund but they often come with associated fees, so wait on the IRS if you can.

Hopefully, these hints will make your tax filing experience just a little bit less stressful. If you have any other questions about the process, you can learn more about it on the IRS’ website.