Filing taxes can be done by getting help.

It can be hard to prepare and file your income taxes.There are many different ways to file, as well as different forms to use.There are a lot of sources of help available.Resources from the IRS are free or low cost.You can hire a tax professional to help file your taxes.

Step 1: Consider using tax preparation software to prepare your taxes.

Tax preparation software walks you through a series of questions to determine what credits and deductions are available for you.Whether you plan on taking a standard deduction or using itemized deductions, most people can use these.There are several paid versions of popular programs.You have the option to pay a fee to file your state income tax return after you complete your federal return.The program will populate your state return with answers from your federal information.Tax Act offers a free federal version, which has no income or age restrictions, so everyone can file their federal return electronically, free of charge.H&R block has a free version of its tax preparation and filing software.Free, business, and premier versions of the tax software are offered by the company.[4]

Step 2: You need to get your tax documents together.

You will usually need a Social Security number W2's and other income statements from wages, interest and dividend statements, statements regarding alimony, child support, or other financial stipends, and job related expense reports.

Step 3: Take the tax software's questionnaires.

To the best of your ability, answer each question.You will have to input your wages and earnings from that year.Income from wages and interest, as well as job, medical, and childcare expenses, will be asked by the software.Additional sources of income include income from farming, child support or alimony payments.You may be able to deduct expenses related to your job.There are certain charitable contributions that are tax deductible.A copy of your tax return will be given to you when you are finished.Put this in a safe place.At a later date, you may need this information.You have the option of saving your return to your computer and printing it later.

Step 4: Ask the IRS.

In person, and by phone, the IRS provides trained personnel to answer your tax questions.When you look up information, make sure you have all of your documentation with you. This includes W2 forms, statements of interest income, business receipts, any receipts from donations that are tax deductible, tuition payments etc.For online help, including forms, publications, answers to frequently asked questions, e-filing information, tax tips, and online tools, visit the IRS.If you need help in person, visit a Taxpayer Assistance center.You can find the location nearest to you on the IRS website.If you need help with your taxes, call the IRS.To answer your questions, you will be directed to the right office.

Step 5: VITA program can help you.

The IRS offers a free service to help low to moderate income families file their taxes.The current guidelines for qualification for VITA are for individuals and families who earn less than $53,000.00 a year, disabled people, or individuals with limited English speaking ability.In most major cities, the VITA program can be found at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.The VITA locator tool on the IRS website can be used to locate the nearest site.Proof of identification, Social Security cards for you and all family members, birthdates, wage and earning statements from the income tax year, and health insurance are some of the items you will need to locate a center.Both spouses need to be present to sign the forms if you are married and filing together.If you have children in daycare, you should bring your bills and statements with you to see if you qualify for a tax break.

Step 6: Ask the American Association of Retired Persons.

IRS trained volunteers are available to assist seniors with their income tax returns through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program.The Tax Aide program is for low income families and individuals.The income guidelines for both the Tax Aide program and the VITA program are the same.When volunteer sites open in late January and early February, you can find a site near you on the AARP website.If you can't leave your home, the Tax Aide program may be able to help.April 15th is when tax sites are usually open.

Step 7: If your spouse is in the military, you should check with the AFTC.

Members of the armed forces can receive fee income tax preparation assistance through the AFTC.The AFTC can be contacted by your local legal office.The IRS VITA program helps military families.You can get help with your taxes if you are in the military.

Step 8: Hire a professional.

There are three basic choices when choosing a professional for income tax preparation.The least expensive option is an independent tax preparer.H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt are tax preparation companies that are used by a lot of people.While their fees may be slightly higher than the independent tax preparers, some people are more comfortable using a large tax preparation company for tax filing assistance.The people who work at these centers have only taken a short tax prep course, so they may not be able to help you with more complex tax scenarios.There are usually fees associated with the advances that these centers offer.A CPA is a person who has passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.In his or her state, he or she must meet licensing and continuing education standards.

Step 9: Check the qualifications of the preparer.

The IRS requires tax preparers to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number.A PTIN is a code for certified tax preparers.They will have to input this number on your tax forms.If your preparer is a member of a professional association, you should ask about continuing education about changes in the tax code.The IRS is starting to require that tax preparers pass a test if they aren't already certified as an accountant or attorney.

Step 10: Check the history of your preparer.

Look to see if there are any complaints with the Better Business Bureau.You can check your state board of accountants and bar association for licensing status.Check with the IRS Office of Enrolled if your preparer is an agent.There are other options if your preparer has consumer complaints.

Step 11: Be sure to negotiate the preparer's fee.

Don't choose a preparer that takes a percentage of your refund or claims to be able to get a higher refund than other preparers.If you get a tax refund, make sure it's deposited in your name.Don't allow your refund to be deposited into a preparer's account.You can pay the preparer separately if you deposit the refund in your own account.

Step 12: Your preparer will need all the records and receipts from you.

If you want a tax professional to look at your taxes personally, you need to submit all your documents.A copy of your previous year's tax return is required by most tax preparers.These include W2 forms, statements of interest income, business receipts, any receipts from donations that are tax deductible, tuition payments etc.Don't use a preparer who will use your last pay-stub instead of a W2 form.This is against IRS regulations.It is your responsibility to provide all the necessary documentation and information for your return.Ask your preparer for a list of what you need if you don't know what to give them.

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