Ultimate Guide to Filing Taxes

Tax Refund Loans

-Updated February, 5th 2020

Tuesday, April 18th.  While you might not remember why you know this date, you will remember why it’s so important.  It’s the day that you either love or hate every year.  The day where you will be either getting money or having to pay.  It is….. typically the last tax day!  However, this year that day is July 15th!  This is the due date where all Americans have to have their taxes turned in.  Will you be prepared?  Will you have all your paperwork in order?  This time of year is always stressful.  Hoping to get money back and really hoping you don’t have to pay any taxes.  All of this can seem overwhelming at times, but it doesn’t have to be.  This is why we have created the ultimate guide to filing taxes for you.  We have broken down everything into an easy to follow guide!

Tax Time!

Getting Ready to File Taxes

New Tax Laws were passed this last year, so this might be the last year taxes will look like this, as there will be some major changes starting next year.  However, until then, this guide will help you file your taxes with the best results!

Check out our Tax Checklist for a list of things you need, and things that you should have been keeping during the year to help you be organized & prepared to do your taxes!

Determine your filing status. Are you single or married?

Will you be filing taxes together or separately? Are you self-employed or do you work for a private company? These are just some of the different things that could affect your filing status, so be prepared to answer and prove them all.

Certain life events can also affect how you pay taxes or receive a refund. Some of the factors are:

If you have recently purchased a home, installed energy-saving appliances or had a baby, you may be entitled to refunds.

Death or disability

Having a child under the age of 16

If you or your child is a college student,

If you serve or have served in the United States Military.

When you go to file your taxes, make sure you have all of your bank information. This should include any information about checking, savings, IRA’s or any other type of account that you hold. You may not need everything, but it is best to have it all there with you.

Filing Taxes Online

Your Filing Options

Paper Method

These days, many consider filing a paper return somewhat old-fashioned, but it is still an entirely viable option. If you decide to choose this method, make sure you have the correct address to which you will send the return. Also, be sure to check and double-check your work.

Electronic Method (Recommended, & Detailed Below)

You can file your taxes online, which is one of the more common ways to submit these days. Depending on your needs, it can take you as short as an hour to file your taxes online. When using this method, make sure to keep your bank account and routing number close. As you can use this to get your refund in a shorter time (3 weeks – 2 months).

Hiring an Accountant

You can also file a paper return through a professional tax preparation service or Certified Public Accountant. They do charge a fee, depending on what type of services you are in need of, and they can file via paper return or file electronically.

When Filing Online, The Electronic Method in Detail

If you choose to file online, there are three types of ways you can file.

The first is direct to the IRS.

The IRS offers “Free File” which is an option that allows you to download software onto your own personal computer and do your taxes yourself, electronically. There is absolutely no charge to you in this case. You can visit the IRS website for more information and download options.

Next is using a commercial tax prep software. Using this type of software is also available in which case you would only be out for the fee for using that software. Make sure to check into any fees for these programs before using them

Finally, you can choose any authorized E-file Provider. These folks do all the work based on the information with which you provide them, and they usually offer the option of insurance, which pays for someone from their company to assist you in the event you are audited.

Some Final Tax Filing Tips: Do It Yourself Taxes

Should you decide to go with the option of doing your own taxes, there are some things you will want to make sure of…

ID:  You will need your Taxpayer Identification number, usually your social security number, and the numbers for everyone in your household, your W-2 from your employer or employers or your proof of income if you are self-employed.

Forms:   If you are unsure of what form to use, here is a quick look from the IRS on what form you should use:

Use the 1040EZ if:

  • Your income is below 100,000
  • Filing as either Single or Married Filing together
  • You and your spouse are under 65
  • Not going to claim any dependents
  • You’ve made less than 1,500 on interest

Use the 1040A if:

  • The amount of your income that can be taxed is below 100,000
  • Capital gain distributions
  • Claiming specific tax credits
  • You are requesting adjustments on student loan interest and IRA contributions

You will need to file for 1040 if:

  1. Income (Taxable) is $100,000 or more
  2. You are claiming itemized deductions
  3. You are self-employed self-employment income
  4. You recently made an income from sale of property

You will need to find out exactly which forms you will need to fill out given your particular situation. There are also forms for elderly and disabled, interests and dividends, earned income credit and child tax credit, child care expenses, education credits, and much more.  There are also worksheets to determine whom you can claim as a dependent. These determinations are not always as easy to make as you might think.

Same Day Tax Refund Loans

Being prepared for your taxes is the most important part. Having your paperwork ready to go will make it easier when trying to file either yourself or with a tax professional.

Have any additional tax questions? Let us know! We are here to help with any and all financial questions dealing with taxes, money management, budgeting, and financial success to name a few topics.  Checkout additional financial education on our financial educational articles section

Also, if you need your tax refund right away for a financial emergency, or because you need money right away, we can help with our industry-leading Tax Refund Advance Loans.