Becoming an adult comes with a number of responsibilities. One of those responsibilities involves paying taxes. It’s called a civic duty, but it is often more of a stressor than anything else is.
Even seasoned taxpayers can find filling out their tax returns daunting. If you are doing it for the first time, it may be causing you some anxiety. Fortunately, there are some tips below to help you get started.
Things to consider before filing for the first time
The following questions may help you on your way to becoming a bona fide taxpayer:
- Does the law require you to file a tax return? Your age, income, filing status and more will provide you with the answer to this question.
- What information do you need to gather in order to make sure your return is accurate and accounts for your complete financial circumstances? You will need to gather information on all your income and qualified expenses.
- Should you try to do your taxes yourself or consult with someone with experience? You may need help to make this decision.
- Should you get help from the IRS? This may be free, but it may not provide you with all of the information you need.
- What tax forms do you need? You may only need a Form 1040, but it’s possible you will need other forms in order to file an accurate return.
- When should you start preparing your tax return? You certainly don’t want to wait until the last minute since it could mean you end up paying interest and penalties for a late or inaccurate return.
- Is there a problem with receiving a large tax refund or in owing a substantial amount in taxes? There could be, so it would be in your best interests to find out what you can do to fix the situation.
Answering these questions may not be as easy as it sounds. The last thing you want to do is start off your lifelong relationship with the IRS with problems. The more smoothly your first experience goes, the less anxiety you will feel next time and the less you will be on the agency’s radar.
Even if you don’t think you have a complex tax situation, you could certainly benefit from sitting down with a tax attorney. You could gain valuable insight into being a taxpayer, along with how to maximize your tax situation.