A Beginner’s Guide to Filing Your Taxes

Tax season is upon us, and soon you have to file your taxes. You have between January and April to file your claim with the Internal Revenue Service, but what if you don’t know where to start?

If you’re a beginner to filing your own taxes, never fear! Here’s a beginner’s guide to anything and everything about taxes.

Who has to file their taxes?

According to the IRS, you have to file your taxes if you fall under the following criteria:

  • If you are single, independent, and make over $10,350 per year.
  • If you are married and your dual income is over $20,700 per year.
  • If you are a dependent and make over $6,300 per year.

What documents do you need to file your taxes?

There are a few different documents you need to prepare in order to have a seamless time filing your taxes. Make sure to give yourself a few weeks before you sit down to file to get all of the forms together and updated:

  • 1099: This is the form you use if you are a freelancer, and if you have earned more than $600 in a calendar year. However, under 1099 contracts, the taxes are not taken out when you first get your paycheck, so you most likely have to pay the IRS instead of potentially getting a refund back.
  • W-2: This is the form you get from your part or full time job, with a itemized list of how much you paid to the IRS as well as social security and Medicaid/Medicare benefits.
  • 1098: This is the form you receive if you pay interest on student loans.
  • 1095-A: This is the form you get if you receive healthcare benefits from the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Job expense receipts: If you purchased items that are necessary for your job, you are able to get tax credits back. This is also true if you had to relocate or travel for your job.
  • Records of other incomes: If you have a side job, but make under $600 a year, you have to report any extra income.
  • Your bank account information: Get your refund as quickly as possible by having your bank’s routing and account numbers.

What happens if you cannot access these documents?

If your employer hasn’t given you any of these documents, you can easily call the IRS for assistance. But there is a deadline for this that usually happens in February, so always double and triple check you have everything you need at the beginning of tax season.

Can you file taxes online?

Luckily enough, there are plenty of online resources you can use to file your taxes, as well as tax software folders to keep everything organized.

There are two types of filing you have to do: one for your state and one for the federal government. Even though there may be a small fee if you file via online software, many people enjoy the convenience they bring, as they walk you through what data you have to input, from what document, when. You can let the tax experts take control and handle the hard work. Some popular examples of online tax software are TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxACT, or you can file with the IRS directly.

How long does it take to get your taxes back?

Typically, after submitting your file online, your refund will be processed within 21 days. After that, it will take anywhere from six to eight weeks for the refund to be put into your bank account.

Filing your taxes doesn’t have to be something you dread. Just remember the basics, and you’ll be all set to file your taxes once tax season starts.