“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
You may have noticed all sorts of confusing tax forms started to arrive in your mail, which may remind you that the April 15 tax filing deadline is approaching fast. I must admit, filing taxes can be intimidating, but don`t worry, it is not as hard as people say.
In the post, I will share my secrets that will help you to get organized and file your 2018 Income Tax Return FREE and fast.
Life scenario we will review: you are married, both of you are employed, you own a house and you have one child who attends daycare.
Step 1: Get organized
Start by creating a 2018 Tax Folder. Every time you receive any tax forms that look important, file them in your special folder. To avoid delays caused by looking for lost forms, make a folder, set it somewhere visible, like a kitchen counter and get started collecting forms.
Next, create your Tax Prep Checklist including the following:
- Your social security # or Tax ID#
- Your spouse`s full name, date of birth and social security number
- Your child’s full name, date of birth and social security number
- Childcare 2018 Summary, including provider name, tax ID#, address, expenses
- Your and your spouse W-2 forms from all employers
- 1099-G form for deducting state or local income taxes
- 1099 forms – bank interest statements
- Form 1098 – mortgage interest statements
- Real estate and personal property tax records
- Receipts for any energy-saving home improvements
- Any other 1098 forms
If you prefer, you can create your Own Personalized Tax Prep Checklist using HR Block tools
Step 2: Gather all your documents
Most of the forms will arrive after January 31 and before February 15. Again, every time a form arrives at your house, mark a cover page of the 2018 Tax Folder to reflect that the form was received. Continue collecting all the forms until all the forms are received.
Step 3: File your 2018 Income Tax Return online
There are three main ways to file your tax return: paper file to IRS (Internal Revenue Service), file with a third party provider or file on your own online. Why I prefer to file my return online? According to IRS.gov
Online Income Tax E-file advantages:
- You will get your refund faster (2-4 weeks with a direct bank deposit)
- File a more accurate return (1% error rate vs. 20% for paper returns)
- A more secure filing, keeping your personal and financial info private
- Get instant notifications and your refund status updates
- Save money on shipping and reduce trips to post office
- Avoid late fees and penalties by filing before April 15th, 2019 or earlier
- Take advantage of all tax deductions you may qualify for and
- Get the biggest tax REFUND you can or owe fewer taxes, if that is the case
How to file online for FREE:
- Allocate 2-3 hours to complete the task
- Find quite a space with a strong Wi-Fi connection
- Choose your free online provider:
- Bring your 2018 Tax Folder and start entering all the info, following the prompts
- Complete, review carefully and check your return
- Get accurate tax refund or tax owed estimate on the spot!
- Choose how you want to receive a refund or submit your tax payment to IRS
- File your Federal and State returns online, save and print the confirmation
- Congratulations, you are done!
I am not a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), but I am a tax nerd. Personally, I am fascinated with income tax returns and even last year considered becoming a tax preparer at HR Block. I love the mystery behind IRS Tax code, and I love using an online Income Tax Filing software, it feels like a game!! Creating a tax return is really fun and exciting, I am not kidding.
Every time I enter a number my refund number changes. It is fun, and it teaches me about how taxes are calculated. Seriously, call me weird, but I love tax time, preparing a tax return and filing taxes. I also love that feeling when I file the taxes and wait for my refund. I love the feeling of accomplishment, and every year I file as early as humanly possible. This year we filed on 02/08/2019! Crazy huh? I guess I hate not knowing what my income tax liability is? I want to check it off my list and be done. Done.
I personally love to use the TurboTax Free edition.
I have been using it for years. It is easy to follow, intuitive and helps me to take advantage of all possible tax deductions to reduce my tax load. Word of caution: anytime when you deal with IRS use only factual, real numbers with backup documentation. God forbid, do not make things up and do not file late!
Good luck on your taxes and I promise, by following these three easy steps you will get organized, gather all the paperwork and file fast and free like a champion! You CAN do this.
Disclosure: Please seek the help of a CPA or a professional tax adviser. None of the information included in the post can be considered a piece of professional tax advice or a tax recommendation.
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