Realistic Tax Tips for First-Time Filers

Helpful Tips for Filing Taxes for the First Time

paying taxes That's right, the piper has come to collect. The deadline for taxes to be filed without penalty or extension is almost here, and for those who might be first time filers, a few tax tips just might mean the difference between unpaid taxes waiting for an audit and giving Uncle Sam back a bit more than he deserves.

Start with Planning Your Tax Attack
Your tax filing system doesn't need to be incredibly complicated unless you are managing a few different accounts, but it needs to be reliable. A simple folder that stays in one place will suffice, and on the cover, list all of the tax documents expected from outside sources, such as W2s, so that when tax statements do come in, you can check them off with the others. When your list is full, prepare for filing. If it's not, get on the horn and find out what the holdup is. As a note, the earliest a W2 can be run is at the end of a payroll year, so don't go looking for it in December.

Determine Your Method of Filing
The recommendation is to file electronically, as you will see faster service with your return from the federal government this way. There is always the old standby of doing it by hand and mailing it in with fifteen stamps or so, but it's slow, tedious, and not something you will want to do again. You can either purchase an updated software download, or you can download tax forms straight from the IRS here.

Though complicated to translate into civilian-speak, the forms do come with complete instructions and the intelligent folks at the IRS work diligently each year to simplify the language. Each set of instructions read something like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book, with gems that read, "If you answered A, then skip to line 23. If you answered B, you're dead." They garner the same responses as well- flipping back to the previous step hoping no one will notice we chose poorly the first time.

Seeking Professional Tax Help
If you are still skittish, you can hire a professional tax preparer for you immediate needs. Come February, you can find them on just about every corner, so if this is your plan, go with a reliable name like H&R Block. Simply bring your completed folder to the representative and sit back while they do the work. In five minutes, you'll have a completed tax file - and are all set until next year rolls around