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The Beginner’s Guide to Filing Taxes


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 into 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?


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.


Usually, you can start filing paper taxes and submit them to the IRS through the mail as soon as January 1st.


Usually, the IRS will start accepting and processing electronically filed taxes on February 12th. 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.


These dates can vary from year to year. If you’re unsure about when to start filing taxes this year, visit the IRS website to check the dates for this tax season.


When are Taxes Due?


“National Tax Day” is usually on April 15th every year. But if the 15th of April falls on a weekend, then the IRS will push this date back to the 16th or 17th. This is when your taxes for the previous year are officially due to the federal government. See 2021 deadlines.


This date can vary from year to year. The IRS website will have the most up to date tax due dates listed. For example, due to many factors, the tax due date for the 2021 tax season has been pushed back to Monday, May 17th, 2021.


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. For instance, the IRS has pushed back this year’s tax due date to May, so wait times for getting your refund back might take longer this year.


You can find out the approximate date by viewing the 2021 tax refund schedule. You can also 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 after you’re done submitting your tax return. 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 than 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? You can also check out the IRS’s website for any other information you may need.


written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

Become Tax Savvy

The end of the year is quickly approaching and if you want to hold onto as much of your hard earned money as possible, that means it’s time to plan for taxes. Most of us think of Tax as a four letter word even if we can read! It is painful to see the government pulling so much out of a working man’s pocket but how many of us are pulling the cash out of our pockets and handing it over to the government ourselves? You may think that you don’t fall into this category but you may be surprised. In this post we’ll cover several ways that you can save money on taxes that usually go overlooked.

Donate to charities

Many people who are stingy with their money actually find that their taxes are more in the end. You have a choice of either giving your “donations” to the government or an actual cause that you believe in. This donation can be a number of different causes whether it is universities, churches, or non-profit organizations. You can actually donate clothing, household items and other property for tax deductions with cooperating organizations. Remember that these items need to be in good condition in order to be seen as tax deductible.

Offset gains against losses

There are many ways to show that you have had a loss, even if you made a profit in that year. What you have to consider is the depreciation of the things that you own whether it is stocks or equipment (if you are a business owner).

Start your retirement plan

All contributions that you make to a retirement account, as long as you are eligible, can be deducted from taxes. You have to be an active participant, or if you are married than your spouse needs to be an active participant. The way that this is done is by looking at the modified adjusted gross income where they can decide how much of a deduction you are eligible for. You may be able to deduct up to $49,000.

Make sure that the IRS has the right address

There are thousands of refund checks sent to bad addresses each year. If you don’t get your refund check you may also be missing out on crucial information about tax deductions that the IRS may suggest for you.

Flexible Spending Account

This is a benefit that some employers offer where they take some of an employees pay before taxes and send it to an account where it can be used for all kinds of benefits by the employee. So not only will you pay less taxes but they are there ready to be used when you need to make a claim. These are used for dependent care and healthcare as well.

In between

If you found yourself spending money to find work or you in-between jobs for a period of time. You may be eligible to deduct some of those expenses if they happened while looking for a job in a new occupation.

Home computer and cell phones

If you use your computer to produce income then you can deduct the depreciation of your home computer. This same principle applies to cell phone use if it was for work.

Staying healthy

The IRS looks at all of your medical expenses and understands that your insurance may not cover all of that. You can actually write off all of your travel to and from the doctor’s office or any other travel expenses incurred from medical.

Keep track of it all

So, all of those receipts that you are throwing away could turn into money in your pocket later on. Make sure you are keeping track of things and that you have a record of even the smallest expenses you have. Here are some ways to organize and file your paperwork so taxes are a little bit easier to do in the end.

  1. Make sure you have both your social security card and all of your dependents’ as well. If you don’t it will delay the process of receiving a return.
  2. Keep track of all of your W-2 forms so you can know your income totals.
  3. You also need to track your earnings from other assets. This can be savings or other interest earning activities. These need to be documented and sent in as well.
  4. Start doing some pre-filing by understanding some of the costs associated with your home. Mortgage interest is tax deductible.
  5. Keep track of your real estate taxes so you can put those done as tax deductible. This goes for people who don’t own homes as well. If you have to pay taxes on a car you can put that down as well.

Make sure that everything is in an order so that you can back up every claim that you make.

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