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Tax Tips: Helpful Hints for DIY Taxes!

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Tax Tips: Helpful Hints for DIY Taxes!

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This post is part of the TaxACT #DIYtaxes blog tour which shares stories and tips about doing your own taxes and how it makes you smarter about the overall health of your finances. Do your own taxes today at TaxACT. You got this.

No foolin! Today’s the first day of April, and we’re coming up on crunch time for preparing and filing taxes. Are yours done yet? We’ve saved a ton of money over the past 15 years by doing our taxes ourselves using a tax preparation program like TaxACT. You might be surprised that it’s a pretty feasible do-it-yourself option. Afraid to do your own taxes? Here’s what you need to know:

Have a “place” for all tax-related documents

Hopefully it’s not too late to do this for your 2014 taxes, but we have a designated spot where all tax info goes as soon as it comes in the mail (or however else it enters our house!). Whether it’s a file folder, a cute bin, a desk drawer, or (like us) the front right corner of the top of my husband’s dresser…know where to put all those important tax documents when you get them. Gathering that information is half the battle!

Organize your information

Before you sit down to use the tax program, sort your information: W-2 forms, 1099s, charitable giving, other deductions, etc. Be sure you have all other pertinent information like Social Security numbers (it’s so important to get those correct!), addresses, etc.

Question and Answer

Once you’re ready to go, fire up the tax program and answer the questions. I find this to be so much easier than filling out a paper form (I used to do that way back in the day…I prefer the tax program so much more!) It’ll take you through step by step, prompting you to enter any information necessary for a wide variety of topics.

It’s simple to use, even for a slightly-more-complicated situation like mine: we have my husband’s W-2 from work, a few W-2s for me for some smaller jobs, and then my “self-employment” information because I’m technically an independent contractor for the web site. My husband and I appreciate how the tax software takes us through all the options and helps us understand where to input information correctly…something that I feel is a bit more open to error when using the old paper forms. By guiding it through us step by step, we’re able to avoid the fees of having the taxes professionally prepared, and I appreciate the savings and convenience, as well as the peace of mind that it’s done correctly.

Final Checks

Before you submit your tax return, save it and step away for a little while. After you’ve been looking at all those numbers, they can tend to run together. When you’re refreshed, give it one more look, double checking important things like Social Security numbers, addresses, and income totals. An error in one of those can cause real grief later! Make sure you don’t transpose digits in these numbers. When everything looks good, you’re ready to send it off.

Refund Time?

If you’re expecting a refund, be sure to check out our Frugal Friday post about how to use a tax refund to further your financial goals. And remember, if your refund it big, all you’re doing is giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan of your hard-earned cash! You may want to adjust your withholdings so that income can be part of your monthly budget rather than sitting in the US Treasury all year long!

Beating the tax deadline doesn’t have to be stressful. With TaxACT everything you need to confidently prepare and e-file your taxes is right at your fingertips. You got this. File your simple or complex federal return FREE today with TaxACT Free Edition.

This post was produced in partnership with Kasai Media.

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