7 Tips for Filing Your Taxes

Filing your taxes is a highly dreaded obligation, but truth be told they aren’t that difficult to do if you take the proper steps. Don’t get caught up in the mania of 1099 and W-2 forms, you can do this! If taxes stress you out, or you’re new to the process entirely, here are some tips for you to successfully complete your taxes this year.

1. Know your filing status

This is the first thing to take care of when you’re filing your taxes. There are five possibilities when filing your taxes: Single, Married filing jointly, Married filing separately, Head of Household, or Widower with a dependent child. This status will make a big difference when filing, as there are some tax benefits that may or may not be able to you depending on your status.

2.  Gather the proper identification numbers

Make sure you have the proper identification for both you and your employer, as they’re necessary for filing them. This includes your Social Security Number, State Identification Number  and Employee Identification Number. All of the necessary employee identification numbers should be on all of the tax documents you receive from your employer.

3. Know what to deduct

There’s a litany of things that you can deduct on your taxes. Some are fairly simple, like charitable donations and buying a new home. Some, however, are more complex. This includes  travel expenses for finding a new job, and expenses from driving for a charity, which can be deducted at 14 cents a mile. Before you file, take a look at a comprehensive list of things you can deduct and be sure to itemize them to get as big of refund as possible or to avoid a possible audit.

4. Know what you can’t deduct

While there is a wide variety of things you can deduct on your taxes, there are also a lot of things that you can’t deduct from your taxes. This includes things such as lunch with coworkers, funeral expenses, and home repairs. Again, take a look at a long list to avoid any confusion and frustration, and to keep your taxes as thorough and above board as possible.

5. Report earnings and/or losses from gambling

If you won a lot of money at the casino this year, it’s important that you make that known to the IRS. You must report your entire winnings as income, you can’t subtract it from your losses. However, your losses can be itemized up to the amount of your winnings.

6. Don’t fall for scams

If someone from the IRS contacts you asking for any kind of personal information, such as credit or debit card numbers, or demand that you pay them instantly, don’t give it to them. This is clearly someone trying to get personal information from you to steal your identity. As a basic rule of thumb in life, NEVER give anyone your personal info via the phone or email unless you have been in contact with the person and company and they providing you a service.

7. Know the tax deadline

You shouldn’t ever have the issue of missing the tax deadline when you have months to complete them, but you should always be aware of the date (it varies from year to year) to avoid any penalties. Yet another rule of thumb to give yourself is to get your taxes done by April 1st, then you’ll never have to worry!

Taxes can be very time consuming, but if you’re thorough and take all of these tips into consideration, you’ll be just fine. Think hard about your previous year and look at all the things that need to be reported on your taxes. It’s of the utmost importance to be forthright about your earnings and deductions, otherwise you could be hearing from the IRS.