are no actual "tricks" to tax filing. However, these
basic tips & how to's from professional accountants will make
filing your own taxes seem like magic. And don't forget to check
out more tax advice from top sites on the
File Your Own Taxes
Filing your own individual tax form used to be intimidating, but today e-filing has made it as easy as completing an online response form. Ask anyone who's used TurboTax, Quicken, or other super user-friendly tax e-filing programs.
designed for the personal tax novice, they basically sit you down
and ask you how much you earned last year and how much you spent.
Then they take you step by step through the process. There is
no confusing fine print to read, or long schedules to look up
and, if at any point you still feel lost - simply hit the delete
button. No harm, no foul.
going, and it's almost guaranteed that you'll end up feeling like
a tax "expert" before you've hit Submit.
complicated forms, the most time you'll spend on filing your taxes
with an e-filing program is about an hour ... to quickly send
your tax form through cyberspace to the IRS.
Another advantage to e-filing? Tax refund checks are returned more quickly, meaning
more money in your pocket much sooner than filing hard copy returns.
Be Careful of Those Storefront Tax Preparers
Although some tax preparers really know what they're doing, once inside the
door it's the luck of the draw as to whether you'll actually be
assigned to a competent preparer. Many are not professionals,
but are quickly trained for the tax season much like fast-food
workers manning the express counter.
For fees reaching
into the hundreds of dollars, they will basically ask you the
same questions you can fill-in yourself. Some may suggest shady
deductions in effort to "help" you. Others may hurriedly
mis-type your address or social security number, raising red flags
at the IRS.
If the IRS
later questions you about your return, you may end up paying extra
tax or possible penalties for any mistakes or questionable deductions.
Not to mention the possibility of your being called in for a -
gasp - complete IRS
that time, the tax preparer's storefront doors have been closed
for the season, and you're on your own.
If you want
to claim a deduction the most important part, say the experts
is : receipts, receipts, receipts.
Make it a
habit to get a receipt for every purchase (no matter how trivial
you think it is at the moment) so when tax season comes around
you can pick and choose among those that apply as legitimate deductions.
receipts away now, or just keep them in an old shoe box to sort
out later. In the event of a tax audit, you'll at least have them
on hand as black-and-white proof of money spent on the deductions
the mantra of of savvy tax filers everywhere who make it a habit
of asking the following question throughout the year, and everywhere