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  • Tips for filing your taxes

    As April 15 is right around the corner, you may be rushing to get your taxes done.

    Doing your taxes on your own can teach you better money managing habits.Hastily inputting information from your W2 on the 1040 form or bypassing deductions can cause you to make mistakes, or even worse, pay more tax than you owe. It is important to complete your taxes in an orderly and efficient manner because you do not want to be penalized by the IRS. If this is your first time doing your taxes, you should proceed carefully as you may not be familiar with all the rules and procedures of filing. Here are the best ways to prepare your taxes on your own:

    Set aside a a sufficient amount of time to prepare your tax forms
    Preparing your own taxes requires you to set aside a sufficient amount of time. Simply sitting in a coffee shop and completing your taxes in a half-hour is not enough. The IRS says the average taxpayer needs 22 hours in order to prepare their own taxes. This may seem like a long time, but from organizing your documents to sending off your completed forms, the process will probably take a while.

    The best option in this situation is to put aside a set amount of time. Doing it all on a Saturday or doing an hour's worth of work each day for a week are two possibilities.

    Choose your form of sending out your return
    As you are organizing the information you need to do your taxes, you should also choose the method you will use to file them.

    Doing it the old-fashioned way and and mailing them in is the tried and true way to file your taxes, but there are faster methods you can try as well. There are several tax software programs available at office supply stores or online to purchase, but these will cost you a bit of money. Enlisting the service of a certified public accountant will not only help you get your taxes done promptly, but you can learn from them along the way. A CPA will also go with you, if the IRS calls you in to defend how your taxes were prepared.These financial professionals can be pricey, but they offer you the added peace of mind that your taxes have been properly prepared.

    If you decide you would like to complete your return yourself, many websites offer free tax preparation services for federal returns and are very user-friendly, helping you through the process step-by-step. These sites will also electronically file your return and let you track the progress.