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Home > Tax Refund Tips > 10 Steps to File Your Tax

10 Steps to File Your Tax

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2024-05-22 13:36:15 • Filed to: Tax Refund Tips • Proven solutions

Every year tax payers in the United States are given some specific time to file their taxes in what is known as tax season. This year, the U.S tax return filing season has started and tax payers have until 17th of April to file their federal income tax returns. Fortunately for this year's tax season, tax payers have additional two days as a result of holidays that falls on 15th of April and this should help tax payers meet up with the deadline.

If for any reason, tax payers cannot meet the deadline, they may request for an extension of date to file in their tax return. Like it happens in every tax season, there are criminals who try to commit task fraud through identity theft, therefore it is important for tax payers to safe guard their tax forms and ensure that they are not exposed to these criminals. It is expected that tax payers read instructions clearly and get clarity on what is expected of them.

How to File a Tax

Filing an income tax return is necessary if you meet certain criteria for example, if your income is below an amount. It is important to note that taxes are paid through withholding from paychecks, payment made each year as you file your taxes as well as estimated tax payments. Therefore, if you are due for a tax refund, it then means that you must have to file a tax return to get a refund on income tax withheld or to claim a refundable tax credit. There are steps required to file a tax return as seen below:

file tax

Step 1. Confirm if you need to file a tax

The first step to take when it comes to filing a tax return is to Confirm if you need to file a tax. In most cases, you need to file a return if your gross income is over $10,000 as a single filer or over $20,000 as a couple filer, you earned over $400 from self-employed, you sold your home furing the tax year, or you owe taxes because of a retirement account, or you owe Social Security and Medicare taxes that were not reported to your employer.

Step 2. Gather Documents

Then you need to gather all the necessary documents like paper works and tax forms. This means that you must have known and obtained the necessary IRS form that you need to file. Some of these necessary documents include income statements and the W-2 form. In some cases, a proof of health insurance coverage may also be needed to file your income tax return. Other documents considered as supporting documents should also be obtained and this include things like interest statements, earning statements as well as evidence of charity donations like receipts. All necessary documents should be gathered and well organized in order to avoid mistakes and confusion when filing your taxes.

Step 3. Know your Status

You should know your filing status and this should be correct. To figure out your correct status, you have to factor in your household contribution to the cost of running the home as well as your marital status. Confirm you're filing as married or single. 

Step 4. Check to Know if You Qualify For Free Tax Return Preparation

It is important to note that the IRS offer some tax return preparation help to some certain categories of people. Therefore, it is important to find out if you are among those group of people qualified for this service from IRS. For example, the elderly, people with disabilities, military service members, low income individuals and persons with limited ability in English are qualified for this free tax return preparation from IRS.

Step 5. Choose the Right Tax Form

There are several tax forms that can be used to file your taxes but it will all depend on the category of tax you are filing. It is important to choose the best tax form to file your taxes especially if you are filing it offline. However, you may not need to bother about getting the correct form if you are using the e-file option because the file you need will be determined by the system

how to file tax

Step 6. Figure Your Taxes and Credits

At this point, it is required that you figure out all your income from all sources like interest earned from investment accounts, salaries and pension accounts and see if you are due for credit and deductions like child care expenses and education.

Step 7. Claim Dependents and Exemptions

One very important step when filing out tax return is in the area of claiming dependents and exemptions. Not everyone is qualified to claim dependents and exemptions and that is why it is important to fully understand the rules guiding this to avoid mistakes. Claiming dependents involves claiming for a qualifying relative of child while exemptions would involve the deduction from taxable income of you and dependents

Step 8. Check to See if You are to Pay Quarterly Estimated Taxes

It is important to always find out if you are to pay taxes on certain incomes especially those are not really subjected to withholding. For instance, some of the income that can be classified in this category include dividends obtained, interests or self-employment. Tax payers are expected to determine this to ensure that they file their taxes correctly.

Step 9. Choose an Option to File Your Taxes

Tax payers can file their taxes using different methods and this would be decided by the tax payers themselves. The options available for filing taxes include filing online(by e-filing), using the paper tax form return(by Mail) or using the services of tax professionals or ask for help from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance(VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

However, tax payers are not compelled to use any particular method rather they are encouraged to use the method that best suit them. This means that you need to check your needs and your situation to decide on which of these options to use. If you are using a paper method, ensure that you mail your paper return to the right address and if you are using a tax professional, ensure you choose appropriately.

Step 10. Contact IRS If Needed

If there is any need to get clarification on issues bordering on filing your taxes, do not hesitate to contact the IRS. You can call to get answers to your questions. However, note that you may require to wait for a long time in order to speak to a representative.

The deadline for filing tax return for this year's tax season is April 17, 2018 and tax payers should always keep this in mind. What this means is that you have to prepare and make sure it is done before the deadline to avoid penalties.

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Audrey Goodwin

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