Have You Done Your Taxes Yet?
Tax season?? April 15th?? Wait they changed the date?? May 17th?? Where do I start? Do I have everything? Do I even HAVE to do this?? Why wasn’t I prepared for this?? The first time I filed my taxes, many of these questions came to mind. Hopefully we will tackle some of these issues and get you prepared to do your taxes.
April is tax time, and now more than ever this tax season is important for every American. Great thing to know is that the Federal tax deadline has been moved to May 17th, but check your state’s deadlines as some of states have not extended their deadline. Even if you didn’t work last year, you still need to file taxes, but we will get to that.
I first moved out of my parents’ house just a few months after graduating college. I was already a full-time employee, but that following year I was stuck with what to do about my taxes. This was the first year my parents couldn’t claim me as a dependent, and I was on my own when it came to my taxes. As I was gathering my documents, I realized that I had NO IDEA what I was doing. No one ever told me about taxes, let alone taught me how to do them. That year it took me over two months to even start my filings because I didn’t know where to start.
Once I decided to suck it up and file my taxes for the first time, my first step was to gather all of my documents. That first year, I did not have much to claim so I simply took my W-2 form and verified the information for accuracy. If this is your first time filing on your own, you may need additional documents if you own a house, business, or any other property. Also, for any donations that you may have made throughout the year, you would want to make sure that you receive the documentation of the donation before filing. The IRS website does a great job at listing out all the standard documents you may need.
Once I was prepared to file, I decided to use TurboTax instead of suffering through the number crunching and questions by myself. The IRS website has good tools to show you your options for free filing and methods for filing. My e-Filing app helped walk me through many of the questions I had while reviewing my documents. The process was simple yet effective in thoroughly analyzing and reviewing my documents.
When I hit the submit button the first time completing my taxes, man, I got up and did a quick shout and breathed a deep sigh of relief. The hard part was over, but that worry about whether you did it right never really goes away, because who wants to be in trouble with the IRS? I monitored the IRS2Go app every day, tracking my taxes to ensure they were accepted and approved. The real victory lap came when I received the notification that my taxes were approved.
After I filed that year, the best part was knowing that I could walk someone else through theirs, with new knowledge I gathered my first time around. Either way, make sure you and your loved ones file their taxes and file on time. Even if you didn’t work or make that much last year, you still need to file. Why, you say? Filing your taxes will help the IRS process any additional stimulus checks must faster, with the most current information.
This year it is vital for those who received unemployment to make sure you have received the Form 1099-G. You want to verify all the information on this form and use it to determine your filing status. The IRS has a good walkthrough of the new requirements for those receiving unemployment. Each year, I try to file early, get it out of the way, and get in that processing queue with the IRS early. Last year because of the extension, I waited, and let’s say my refund took forever to get to me, and my stimulus didn’t come until almost three months after most people had already received theirs. I learned my lesson; if you want to get back from Uncle Sam what you are owed, don’t delay and file today.