Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Can You File Your Own Taxes

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2022 Step by Step EASY TurboTax Tutorial: How To File Your Own Taxes This Year!

When you submit your tax return online, youll just need to fill out the sections that apply to you. We explain the process in our guide to online tax returns.

For paper tax returns, youll need to work out which sections are relevant. Most people will just have to fill out the SA100 form. However, there are several supplementary pages that may apply to your circumstances. We explain more in our guide to paper tax returns.

Some employees, pensioners and self-employed people with a turnover of under £85,000 can be sent a simplified SA200 return. At four pages long, its much shorter. Unfortunately, you cant opt to fill in this shorter form HMRC will decide and send it out to you.

Details you may need to include on your tax return include:

Before you start filling out your tax return, its best to gather all of the information youll need.

Make sure you have records of:

Depending on your circumstances, you might need extra records, such as tenancy agreements.

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How Income Tax Works

Federal and Ontario income taxes are paid to the Canada Revenue Agency , which is part of the federal government.

Income tax is commonly taken off your pay by your employer, or off your pension, and sent directly to the CRA. You may also have to calculate the tax you owe and send a payment to the CRA.

Each year, you should file a tax return with the CRA to:

  • report the income youve made
  • ensure youve paid the correct amount of income tax
  • access tax credits and benefits

Learn more about how much tax you should pay on each portion of your income.

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How To Choose Tax Software If You Plan To Diy

Unless youre a tax accountant or a taxpayer with the simplest needs, your best bet will be connecting with a good online or desktop tax program to file your federal and state taxes.

Which software you use, of course, should depend on your needs and preferences. Youll see ads online and on TV for some of the nations leading tax programs.

Many services offer free filing. Fewer services can actually follow through on the offer.

Some software services bait you with the promise of free services only to require payment if you have children or need to itemize. Others let you file a federal return for free but require payment when you start on your state return.

Check out our post about which services actually allow for free filing to find out if you can file without paying a fee this year.

Generally, someone with a more complicated tax situation — if you have multiple sources of income or have a home office, for example — will need to pay a fee to unlock a programs Deluxe or Premium features.

And thats OK. When you can unlock a bigger refund by paying for more advanced tax services, the upfront investment can pay off.

Bottom line: Go with a free service if you can more importantly: find the service which best meets your needs.

Here are a few of our top picks to get you started:

Some Private Sector Firms Have Offered Free E

How to File Your Taxes For Free

IRS Free File program is a multi-year agreement between IRS and the Free File Alliance to provide free service to more taxpayers. To be true IRS Free File, the services must be accessed through IRS.gov.

With IRS Free File, taxpayers have easy access to IRS.gov/freefile, which offers a list of the participating free offerings on a single web page. Under our agreement, Free File Alliance companies offer both free preparation and free e-filing services. There is no cost for a federal tax return to qualifying taxpayers.

Note: The IRS does not endorse any individual Free File Alliance company. While the IRS manages the content of the IRS Free File pages accessible on IRS.gov/freefile, the IRS does not retain any taxpayer information entered on the Free File site.

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Home Improvements For Medical Needs Can Be Deducted

Medical expenses can be a major tax deduction, but only if they go over 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, which is essentially your taxable income. Any home improvements — safety bars, accessibility ramps, wider doorways, railings and lifts, for example — related to medical conditions can be included in your tax deductions for medical expenses.

Keep all your receipts and invoices and include the total cost of the improvements or additions with all of your additional medical and dental expenses on Line 1 of 1040 Schedule A.

Extension To File Your Tax Return

If you cant file your federal income tax return by the due date, you may be able to get a six-month extension from the Internal Revenue Service . This does not grant you more time to pay your taxes. To avoid possible penalties, estimate and pay the taxes you owe by the tax deadline of April 19, 2022, if you live in Maine or Massachusetts or April 18, 2022, for the rest of the country.

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Free Versions Of Online Tax Software

Many of the big tax preparation companies will bring in customers with the offer of free filing, says Curtis. But beware of the upsell.

We at Forbes Advisor reviewed four of the top online tax software platforms, and our top free pick for simple tax returns is Cash App Taxes where you can file both your federal and state taxes for free. The service includes several forms, including self-employment, as part of their free package.

Unlike Cash App Taxes, some online tax software providers offer limited form options. Often, if the return requires any additional forms like a Schedule A or C, that costs extra. In many cases the federal return might be free, but a state return will have an additional cost.

When youre choosing a free product, read the fine print. Most of these products come with limitations that may exclude your specific situation, including your income and the forms you need to file. Also, consider the complexity of your taxes: If you think youll need professional help while filing, some tax software companies offer CPA assistancebut youll likely have to pay for it.

Read more: The Best Tax Software of 2022

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How To File Your Tax Return In 2023 Online For FREE! (Step By Step)
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Where To File Taxes For Free

If your tax situation is straightforward enough or if you qualify for free tax filing with guided preparation from the IRS, you should take advantage of it! Head to the IRS Free File site to get started.

Heres how it works for the 2022 tax year:

  • If your adjusted gross income is $73,000 or less: You qualify for a free federal return, guided preparation, tax filing on an IRS partner site, and state tax preparation and filing for select states.
  • If your adjusted gross income is above $73,000:You can still use free electronic forms on the IRS website, but:Youll have to file yourself.
  • Youll have to file yourself.
  • You wont receive any guidance.
  • State preparation and filing wont be included.
  • Note: The adjusted gross income threshold is $73,000 for the 2022 tax year, regardless of whether your filing status is single or married filing jointly.

    Choose A Diy Tax Method

    If youre the calculator-and-pencil type, you can print forms from the IRS website or pick up a package at your local library. There are three standard tax return packages:

    • The 1040EZ is for people with under $100,000 in total income and no deductions. The typical user is young, in school or does not own a house.

    • You move to the more complex 1040A form if you must add an IRA, stock investments or want to claim certain tax credits.

    • The 1040 is appropriate if your income exceeds $100,000, if you have one or more businesses, or if you choose to itemize deductions rather than take the standard deduction.

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    Take Stock Before Years End

    Being proactive can help you minimize your tax bill and hopefully maximize your return. Consider important questions about tax deductions and tax credits you may be able to claim.

    • Have you contributed all you can to your retirement accounts, such as an employer-sponsored 401 or your IRA?
    • Can you add to your health-savings account?
    • Are you able to make any additional charitable donations?
    • How much did you pay in interest toward student loans?
    • Did you have higher-education expenses?
    • Did you have enough tax withheld from your paycheck, or if youre self-employed did you pay enough in estimated tax payments?

    Be mindful of deadlines for tax deductions. In some cases such as a charitable contribution you have to take action by Dec. 31 of the tax year to claim the deduction. Others, like making a contribution to an IRA, may give you until Tax Day to act. And dont forget that your federal tax return might not be the only one you have to file. Depending on where you live or work and how much income including passive income you have, you may need to file a state tax return as well.

    Tax Deductions For The Self

    How to File Your Taxes

    If youre self-employed, you may feel a little lonely during tax season. After all, its hard to gauge which deductions youre entitled to when there are so many personalized expense categories to consider.

    Regardless of your income, these tax reductions can lead to significant savings. Lets break down which deductions are available for the self-employed, and how you can claim them.

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    How Do You Get A Ptin

    This process begins on the IRS website and requires annual renewal. However, there is no fee for either the initial registration process or the renewal.Once a PTIN is issued, the tax preparer is required to put this on every single return they prepare. In general, the IRS website includes many helpful solutions and other tips for people beginning this process.

    What Does A Tax Preparer Need To Prepare Tax Returns

    Tax preparers need to efficiently and securely access and manage confidential information for their clients. As a result, most preparers look for software to manage their workflow effectively and efficiently.

    Tax software should help preparers in the following ways:

    • Learn. You cant know everything. There will always be knowledge gaps and questions from clients that you didnt anticipate. Professional tax software should increase your know-how, the ability to fill knowledge gaps with trusted and meaningful information for your daily work. Something to unstuck you when you dont know how to proceed.
    • Research. Every client is different. And that means every answer you provide will need to be tailored to their specific questions and concerns. A tax research software solution can help get the answers when you need to go deeper and retrieve more information.
    • Operate. Tax preparation requires a significant amount of day-to-day organization. You need tools to do the work and produce all the necessary forms. From document management solutions to e-filing assistance, tax software should make your operational duties easier, more productive, to do your job with confidence every time.

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    Do You Need A License To Be A Tax Preparer

    Most states do not regulate who can be a tax preparer.

    In fact, only 4 states have laws that control who can prepare tax returns for a fee: California, Maryland, New York, and Oregon.

    Which means that the person you are paying to do your taxes, might not know anymore than you do!

    For those states that do have requirements, they include things like: completing a 60 to 80 hour tax law education course, and paying for a license permit.

    Thats correct, it does not take a 5 year degree to be able to file your own taxes. You could master it in 2 weeks time. I spent various hours studying the form instructions and learning accounting. Now I dont depend on anyone to get it done.

    Sometimes I forget how to fill out certain boxes when the new year comes around. But thats no problem, because I know where I can find answers I can trust.

    I highly recommend everyone to diversify your skills, and get accounting and tax education. Theyre important to help you manage your personal finances effectively.

    If I could, I would make it a course requirement for high school students so that no one jumps into a career without it.

    Watch For Your Income Documents To Arrive

    How to File Your Taxes Online For Beginners (TurboTax Tutorial)

    You should receive forms about how much income youve earned from your employers and other income sources in January or February. If you are a full-time employee, you will receive a Form W-2 detailing your earnings, as well as which taxes were withheld. If you work freelance or on a contract, you may receive a Form 1099-NEC detailing what you earned. You may also receive documents showing dividends or interest earned on investments , or student loan interest youve paid . If youre a college student , youll receive a Form 1098-T that shows how much you paid in tuition, as well as any amounts you received from grants or fellowships, to help you figure out deductions and credits related to education expenses.

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    Prepare Ahead Of Time When Doing Your Own Taxes

    So now you know how to do your own taxes! If you decide to do your own taxes this year, make sure to take action. It’s best to start sooner than later just in case.

    Keep all of your important documents in one place to streamline the process too. Knock this item off your financial to-do list early so you can focus on your other financial goals!


    Use A Tax Professional

    For anyone with a complicated financial situation or a lack of confidence about finances, a tax professional is a better option. Capable tax professionals can help minimize the amount you owe and maximize the deductions you claim. Using a tax professional can pay for itself.

    Tax Software Vs a CPA: Which Is Right For You?

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    Interest From Home Equity Loans Can Also Be Deducted

    Any interest from a home equity loan or second mortgage can be deducted from your taxes just like regular mortgage interest, with the important limit of maximum loan totals of $1 million or $750,000 if you purchased your home after Dec. 15, 2017.

    It’s also very important to note that the 2017 tax law limits deductions for home equity loan interest to money that is used to “buy, build or substantially improve” homes. If you borrowed money to pay for a new car or tuxedo, you’re out of luck.

    If you did pay interest on a home equity loan that was used directly on your residence, you can claim the deduction on the same line as mortgage interest and mortgage points: Line 8 on Form 1040 Schedule A.

    What Do You Need To Become A Tax Preparer

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    Becoming a tax preparer is a straightforward process involving a few basic requirements.

    These include:

  • Know-how. For most new tax preparers, learning the ins and outs of the business means acquiring an entirely new professional language. In some cases, this know-how comes in the form of certification. But finding a platform that can boost know-how and assist you with knowledge gaps is critical to success.
  • Technology. As is the case with most professions, having access to the right technology will help you work efficiently and contributes to the general success of your new business. Most tax professional software assists with both know-how and the tools to accomplish the work itself.
  • Clients. This might seem obvious, but you need to attract tax clients to succeed and become profitable. Many preparers start on a small scale doing individual returns before moving on to bigger and more complicated matters.
  • Preparer Tax Identification Number. If you want to be paid for preparing tax returns, the first step is applying for and being issued a preparer tax identification number .
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