The IRS is a club that does not discriminate. Everyone is obligated to join. Just as Christmas comes as no surprise every year, the tax man roars his head at the same time every year. While you have a choice on whether or not to celebrate Christmas, filing taxes is not an option. Neglecting to file taxes is inviting a horrific pain that will catch up with you in a way that is a multitude more stressful than having filed taxes would have been.
The easiest way to prepare taxes for returns that are not complex is to purchase a tax software program. The benefits are multiple. Preparing your taxes using software from one of the industry leaders is far less expensive than handing over a shoe box to an accountant. The new software that is available very much mirrors that used by tax professionals. Most of the tax software programs have the option of filling in your basic information and having the program begin to ask a series of questions about income, deductions and credits. The program then automatically calculates and populates the tax return based on your responses. The benefit of going through the process with the software is that you begin to learn the fundamentals of the tax code. While this may sound both boring and intimidating, it will serve you well as you begin to make greater financial decisions and commitments.
Before beginning, gather all of your tax information in one place. Designate a file for these documents as well as a printed copy of the final tax return that filed with the Federal IRS as well as your state department of revenue. These files should be maintained for at least seven years. In subsequent years, if using the same software, it will import your basic information from the prior year. This will save a lot of time, and avoid entry errors. The software will also begin to develop year to year comparisons of your tax obligations, tax rate, income, deductions, etc. Give it a shot; in no time you’ll be a pro at filing your own taxes and feel empowered in the process!