Tax Season Made Simple Part 2: Places to File Your Taxes

January 24, 2020

It’s that time of the year where we commiserate over fulfilling our American duty of filing our taxes. As you progress in life, it’s likely that your taxes become trickier to file, you have multiple streams of income, or the tax legislation has changed and you’re unsure of where to begin.

Luckily there are multiple ways to file your taxes and some of those ways may better suit your situation, income, and time availability. Today, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can file your taxes based on what may fit your situation best.

3 Ways to File Your Taxes

  1. Filing your own taxes manually — If you’re looking for an option to file your taxes that’s free and don’t mind a little DIY, you might opt for filing your taxes yourself. If you choose to take this route, you’ll have to do a little research up front to learn about tax codes to accurately represent yourself and how you spend your money. On top of this, you’ll have to stay organized during the year and hold on to the right receipts and documents for when tax season rolls around.

In doing this research upfront, you can get a more intimate knowledge of the tax codes as it relates to your specific case and prepare your own taxes without having to rely on the time and efforts of someone else.

  1. Filing with a tax preparer — A tax preparer is someone who does just that, prepares your taxes. If you aren’t too bothered about paying and booking an appointment with someone, hiring a tax preparer may be the best choice. The great thing about tax preparers is that the onus is on them to pay attention to the finer details and put your tax documents together. The cost of hiring a preparer will depend on who you’ve hired and the tax services they provide you. On average, you might find yourself paying around $200 for preparer services.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure you’re having your taxes filed by a reputable preparer. Documents surrounding your taxes are sensitive with highly personal information that could compromise your security. It’s important to be aware of those who may not have proper credentials or qualifications. The IRS offers tips for vetting your tax preparer including checking on your tax professionals IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

  1. Filing with a software program — If you’re looking to file your taxes with a program that is a little more intuitive and that walks you through each step with explanations, you may want to consider a tax software program. With programs, you may find one that works for you that’s free, requires and upfront cost, or a pricetag the renews the program yearly.

Software programs have advanced greatly over time. Gone are the days of clunky systems that are confusing to understand. Nowadays, there are even programs that not only help you get your taxes in order but edit for errors and typos, too.

However you decide to prepare your taxes, but sure you pick the option that’s going to be the best fit for your individual circumstances and financial situation. Whatever method works best for you is always going to be better than what happens if you don’t file your taxes.

Interested in more tax-related tidbits?

Get started with part one of our Tax Season Made Simple series by understanding federal tax withholding!

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