It is currently tax filing seasons of the year. Everyone including me trying to find a tax specialist to file our taxes. I don’t know about most of you, but for me, it sounds complicated and stressful.
For a long time, I did not even try to learn what goes into the filling. I just accepted whatever the tax specialist told me to do.
Then I was talking to my friend Ranjit, she educated me about many things that go into the tax filing. She insisted that doing it on our own is easy and beneficial.
The biggest takeaway for me is, we know our situation better than the tax professional, many times they don’t ask certain questions and we fail to furnish the details. Eventually, those tax benefits go unclaimed resulting in losing money to IRS. Knowing the right details you could get more tax money back.
At least we know the details we are telling IRS and the true meaning of it. I asked her to write a detailed post for us and she graciously accepted.
Over to Ranjit.
The whole year we pay taxes, now is the time to get some money back (or to pay more if not already paid 🙂 )
When it comes filing taxes yourself, the task seems very difficult but believe me actually when you will know the process and steps, it is a matter of few minutes. With online tools available in the market, this task is, even more, easier these days.
If you are interested in filing the taxes yourself and save tax filing fee, this blog post will provide you step by step guidance.
I personally used H&R Block and TurboTax on-line tool. Both tools give you the same amount of returns for the same deductions and taxes with some elaborate information on the inputs you provide.
Along with filing taxes yourself, with these tools, you can actually acquire some knowledge of the tax terminology as well.
In this post, I am going to give an example with a case. I am using TurboTax intuit service. you can use any online tool. The basic things are similar in all available on-line tools.
Let us start with this example.
Income: Have job (w2)
Filing status: Single
Deductions and Credits: Minimal
The figures you will see in the screens are for illustration purpose only, these are not the actual figures.
To start, you should have your w2/other income tax forms ready.
Go to the link: https://myturbotax.
intuit.com/ and register.
Once you logged into your account, it will ask you some options about you, like if you single or have children/dependent etc.
You need to select the applicable option and based on that option it will recommend you the product edition also.
Plus it will give you product edition options with a price. Every edition has some features associated with it. The more expensive the edition, the more features you will get.
Here I have selected ‘Single’ and chose the basic free edition.
it will ask you about how you filed last year and your name and birth date.
give the zip code and pick some more options if applicable to you. here, I picked ‘paid rent’ option.
On next page, it will ask you for your financial picture.We are going with a job option in this example, so I picked ‘had a job’. You can choose whatever is applicable to you. You will get a lot of self-explaining options on this page.
On next screen, it will take you to the page where you are going to fill your personal, federal income and taxes, state income and taxes (basically all your w2 information).
Read through and give the personal detail. Based on all your answers, it will determine the best possible tax filing status for you.
Next is federal taxes. You need to fill your w2 detail (you can take a picture of your w2 form and upload it to TurboTax app, it will automatically fill the details) but it is always good to see how much you earned and how much you paid for taxes :-), by filling it in each text box.
It will go through your income and wages first. Again all self-explanatory information. You need to fill each and every corresponding value from your W2 form.
Based on your information, it will calculate the refunds. On next screen, you can see the estimated refund calculated based on the information you just provided in the previous screen. Feeling good to see the numbers 🙂
Next, it will ask you for more income information if you have, like another W2. If not, wrap up the income and move to taxes and deductions. Check whatever is applicable in your case.
It will automatically pick the taxes, you entered in the previous screen and show you more tax break options. If anything is applied to you, select and fill the required information and wrap up the taxes.
Based on your income and taxes and status, it checks what type of deductions are right for you. This is the deduction type which will give you best return.
If you think it is not good or not giving best returns, you can change the type of deduction and go for itemized option, where you need to fill the required information, like ‘how much you paid for charity, car registration etc’.
If you feel the need, revisit the income/taxes entries you filed in the previous screens.
Next is about health insurance coverage. you need to mention the coverage period for your health insurance and select the type of health insurance you had.
Next screen is for other Tax situations. You will get many options, If you see any situation applies to you, check that and fill the required information.
Finally is your federal review. If anything is missed out. here are the time and page you can revisit and fill the information.
Next is the state taxes. The tool will automatically transfer your income and taxes information from your W2 filled information, that you filled in the initial screens during federal taxes.
It will give you more options to work on state taxes and credits. Select whatever is applicable and fill the required information.
If you think, it is wrong and you need to go over the state taxes again, you can now go back and change the figures. You can start the state taxes from the scratch or can edit the information, it will give you both options.
If everything is ok, click done with taxes and it will review the taxes once again.
After state review, on next screen, you will see your order detail, your refund information, the options to get/pay the returns, tax filing and document download and saving option.
Until this screen, you can always go back and start your return from the scratch. But once the order is generated for you, you can not start your return from the initial state. You can modify your information when it will ask you for the review.
Here, Step 1, will be your order confirmation.
It will ask you to register, where you need to put your personal information once again and click Register.
This registration is mandatory for a new user and specifically who are filing for free.
In Step 2, It will ask you, how you want to receive the return, eg: direct deposit in the bank account or by check. Provide the required information. You need to give this information for both federal and state separately.
Step 3, Last step, will ask you to review the returns once again, download or print the return and your option to file returns using e-file or file by mail.
If you choose to e-file, it will ask you some more detail about your last year’s returns. Basically a number, which is the amount of your taxable income of last year on 37 row of your return. Select the applicable response and provide the required information.
If you are filing for the first time, you can select the last option.
Next, it will ask you for your ID information, provide driver license/state id information.
On Next screens, if you choose e-file option, when it ask you to give identification number, choose a 5 digit random number ( you need to remember this numbers) and then click e-file and your taxes are done.
If you wanted to file by mail, it will give you an option to download and you can take the print and send them to the destination address by mail.
You can always track your refund status on-line with this account and the tool will send you text and email message on the registered mail and phone also.
This is a simple case example. If you want to file yourself for other cases ( example: own a business or have a job, married and have children), you can get it done with-in minutes, as these on-line tools have all these self-explanatory options. It actually guides you through the end and makes the tax filing very simple task for you. I hope this post will help you.
Leave me a comment on your experience or any question regarding filing it on-line.
Keep reading and happy tax filing seasons!!!