The Beginner’s Guide to Filing Taxes

tax guide

Doing taxes might be one of the most procrastinated tasks we have to do each year.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

With all the tax services available today you can get your taxes filed away with just a few clicks of a button. Some tax service places will even let you file your taxes early so you can get it done asap and cross that item off your to-do list right now. However you choose to do your taxes, there are a few things everyone should know about filing taxes.

How Do I File My Taxes?

It’s a common misconception that filing taxes is confusing and difficult to do. It really isn’t! Just follow these steps:

Step 1: Gather necessary documents

W-2 form.

You’ll get this from your place of work and it will have all the information you need on it—how much you got paid and how much you paid in taxes through your paychecks.

1099 form.

If you’re self-employed, a contracted employee, or a freelancer, then you’ll get a 1099 form from each of your employers instead. Since you aren’t receiving a taxed paycheck from an employer you may have to pay your taxes after filing since your taxes weren’t automatically paid throughout the year via taxed paychecks.

Step 2: Use these documents to file taxes

Give documents to a professional tax service.

The easiest way to get your taxes done is to simply submit these documents to a professional tax service. You can visit a financial store, like Check City, that offers tax services in person. Check City even offers Tax Advance Loans so you can get your refund sooner.

You can also use an online tax service to do it online. You may have to use your W-2 or 1099 forms to fill out some of the information. Using a tax professional or service will often come with some service fees.

File your taxes manually with the IRS.

You can also do it yourself by filling out a form called a 1040. Then you simply mail this form to the IRS. This route doesn’t have any service fees, besides postage, but it’s more effort on your part and takes more of your time.

Once you’ve finished filing taxes you’ll be able to see how much you owe or are owed. If you owe money you can mail it in to the IRS. If you are owed money then you can expect a check in the mail after the IRS is done processing your filed taxes.

When Do I File Taxes?

January.

You can file your taxes as soon as you receive the documents you need. These documents are your W-2 form from your employer or any 1099 forms you get from employers and contractors. You’ll usually receive these documents in January or you’ll need to request them.

This year the IRS will start accepting filed taxes on January 27th, 2020. Ideally, you’ll want to have everything ready to file by this date. That way if you are getting a tax refund, you can get your money as soon as possible.

When are Taxes Due?

April.

“National Tax Day” is usually on April 15th every year. But if the 15th of April falls on a weekend, then they’ll push it back to the 16th or 17th. This is when your taxes for the previous year are officially due to the federal government.

For example, taxes for 2019 need to be filed by Wednesday, April 15th, 2020.

When Do I Get My Tax Return?

up to 3 weeks.

When you get your tax return will depend on when and how you file your taxes. Since the IRS doesn’t start processing filed taxes until January 27th this year, you won’t receive your refund until after this date. You can check your refund status on the IRS’s website if you’re curious.

But generally, your tax refund can take up to 3 weeks to get to you after January 27th and after you’ve filed your taxes. It’s also always a good idea to keep a copy of your tax return for your own personal files.

If you want to get your tax refund quicker, you can do so by e-filing your tax return at Check City rather than mailing it in.

Why Do I Have to File Taxes?

To make sure you paid the correct amount in taxes the year before.

The main reason you have to file taxes at the beginning of each year is to make sure you paid the correct amount in taxes the previous year and didn’t over or underpay.

Income tax gets taken out of each paycheck throughout the year, but this amount isn’t always the amount you end up owing in taxes by the end of the year. By filing taxes at the start of the new year, you and the government will both know for certain whether you owe more in taxes or are owed the extra you ended up giving in taxes.

How much you pay in taxes is determined by your total income over the course of the year. How much you make will then place you in a certain tax bracket, and that percentage is how much you should have paid in taxes. But this percentage can’t be known for certain until after the year is done, that’s why taxes are always filed at the beginning of the following year.

Benefits to Filing Taxes
  • You can get a tax return if you ended up paying more in taxes then you needed to based on how much you ended up making over the year.
  • You can also end up getting tax deductions for certain things like giving to charity, nonprofits, medical expenses, or if you spend personal money on your job or business.
  • You can also get tax credits for things like education or paying for childcare so you can work.

And that’s all you need to know! See? Taxes can be a dream, not a nightmare. You can also check out the IRS’s website for any other information you may need.


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