How to File Taxes: Complete Guide

September 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Debt, Resources

Filing Taxes

Knowing how the tax process works can help to reduce any stress that a person may be under to get their taxes filed. Learning more about this process also provides more information for the user during the process. What they once did not know, they may know after gathering this information. Your first or even second time doing anything can seem like a challenge. This is especially true if you’re worried about not filing something right. Learning how to file taxes is not as complicated as it seems.

You want to know what information and documents you need, how long it will take if you’re filing the right forms, and if there are ramifications should you forget to add or do something on the forms. All of these concerns will come piling up during the tax filing process. It is important that you take it step by step. Each question will be answered, and you will feel more confident as time moves forward. Learn what makes up a tax return and then use that to your advantage when going through each part and filling in the information.

What Does It Mean to File Taxes?

Time For Taxes

You are not alone. Many people do not know how to file taxes. They either hire someone to do this job for them, or they have to learn just like you are now. Filing taxes means you have to submit papers to the government letting them know how much you have made throughout the year. Everyone that is a resident and a citizen of the United States that works must file their taxes every year. Taxes are then paid to the government to help with specific expenses that the government sees fit during that year.

Is There a Need to File Taxes?

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Some individuals may not have to file taxes for that year. There is a specialized tool from the IRS that can figure out if you are required to pay taxes depending on your status, how much you have made, and other factors. Almost everyone must file taxes within the United States though as long as they are making money. Some citizens that are living in other countries may have to still pay taxes to the United States if they are still listed as a citizen with this country. However, this is something that has to be worked out with the IRS offices.

How to File Taxes the Right Way

How to File Taxes the Right Way

There is a process that a person has to undergo to file their taxes. Every tax form, regardless of which you have to fill out, has specific steps and instructions that have to be followed. Know the steps ahead of time so you are prepared when tax time comes, and you need to fill out the form and provide the necessary documentation requested of you. Here are the steps required to fill out a simple tax form.

KEY TIPS FOR FILING YOUR TAXES – BEFORE YOU START

Tips for filing taxes

It is important to know what to have on hand before you start filing your tax returns. Knowing things like life changes, such as a marriage, birth, or change in a job, is also ideal. It can make the process go faster. You will also need to have access to these key specific items:

  • Your social security number
  • The social security number of your dependents 
  • W-2’s or 1099 income 
  • 1095 which is used for health insurance verification 
  • Consider all of your sources of income – through a job, retirement, savings, pension, investments, etc. 
  • Any donation forms 
  • Child care expense receipts 
  • Education expenses 
  • Information regarding taxes paid on your mortgage

KNOW HOW YOU’RE GOING TO FILE

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There are a few different ways to file your taxes depending on how you feel the most comfortable. Filing your taxes online can be done through an online e-filing program. These programs will walk you through the entire process and have areas where you can look up your questions to get answers. This is very helpful for those learning how to file taxes on their own.

Another option is to file the taxes through the mail. While this takes longer to have them reach the IRS, it also provides them with a way to fill out everything on paper. Those that like to leave a paper trail and want to submit all of their paper documentation would use this option. It is not the most popular, but it is definitely an option.

Those that do not know how to file taxes sometimes use the help of a tax professional. These professionals walk the person through what they are doing on their taxes, ask questions, and do the process for them. They can find hidden deductions, look for ways to save on taxes, and even try to get the person money back for that tax year. They are knowledgeable about the tax process, the laws, procedures, and other specifics so that those looking for some help when learning how to file taxes can speak with these professionals for more information about the process.

Filing the Tax Return

Filing the Tax Return

Follow these steps to file your tax return once you know how to file taxes. You have gathered the above, chose the right method, and are ready to file. Now is the time to do so with the help of the specific method you went with.

  1. 1
    Gather all of your paperwork, documentation, and other information you need. These are stated above. Any forms regarding taxes, as well as income, should be brought over when doing your taxes.
  2. 2
    Determine your filing status. Are you filing head of household, single, married? You also want to determine how much you made this past year as it determines which form you will fill out to file your taxes. Those that make under $66,000 per year are put into one bracket, while those over this amount are in another. Self-employed individuals have to pay a specific tax bracket. E-filing services will automatically decide which filing bracket you need when you answer simple questions for them at the beginning of the process.
  3. 3
    Calculate all of your taxes and credits by filling in the information requested on the forms. This is usually regarding the dependants you have, the amount you made, any extra income, etc. There are credits given to those that have given to charity, have children, education expenses, and other related deductions.
  4. 4
    Claim all of your dependents and exemptions on the form. It is important to know who qualifies as a dependent on your tax return. Children that you are legally responsible for and provide over half of their support are generally thought of as your dependents.
  5. 5
    Find out if you pay in taxes quarterly, have to pay one lump sum, or if you will get money back. This is all determined based on several factors. Going through the entire process will give you more information. Mailing in your payments, paying online or through the phone are all options for those that owe money to the IRS. For payments coming back to the person that filed, checks and direct deposits into bank accounts can be made.
  6. 6
    File your taxes by submitting them electronically or through the mail. This is usually done electronically if you have hired someone to go through your taxes for you.

The process is generally easy with the number of resources available to those learning how to file taxes. Working with a professional also has helped many people file their taxes. It is important that the taxes are filed within the time limit that the government sets. Those that file and owe money have to pay by April 15 while others have to submit their applications and extensions by the same day. This date may change if the 15th falls on a holiday or a weekend, which means it can be the 16th,17th, or even 18th on some years. It is important to think about filing taxes as soon as possible. Gathering information on how to file taxes can help you get prepared for the tax time to come.

Conclusion

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Alternatively, those that wish to save time and hassle can hire a tax service. This service prepares the taxes for you when you give them your financial documentation. They go over all the specifics so you can easily submit the information while also providing the necessary tax payments for being a citizen with the country. If there are further questions regarding filing, if you are filing yourself, it is important to speak with either the IRS or a tax professional that can provide the help required. Knowing how to file taxes the right way can allow you to feel more confident in the years to come when you have to continue to file taxes.

Please keep in mind that if you have further questions regarding the process, look into the IRS website for FAQs and other commonly featured articles. They use this as a guide to help those learning how to file their own taxes have all the information they need. 

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