How Do You Do Your Own Taxes?
Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to file your own taxes. Just visit a site such as Turbo Tax or H&R Block, create an account, and get your taxes sorted with speed and simplicity. I have used both of these platforms, and they’re both very intuitive.
They take you through the process step by step, explaining exactly what you need to do along the way.
Both start off with free options, though you can pay for some advanced features and additional peace of mind. For many, these aren’t necessary and the free options will do the job just fine.
But what if I get audited?
Surely doing your own taxes increases the chances of the big, scary IRS coming to your door, right? No, not really. At least, not as long as you’re honest.
As someone who has done a fair amount of professional writing for the tax and accounting world, I can tell you first hand, your chances of getting audited are very small. If you don’t run some sort of business, and you make less than $200,000, your odds of an audit are less than 0.4%.
And regardless your income bracket, the main causes for being audited are a: trying to not pay your taxes, b: lying on your taxes, or c: making a data entry error.
In other words, make sure you file your taxes, verify that the information is correct, and don’t lie or attempt to deduct things that have nothing to do with your business, and you have little to fear.
Will I miss out on deductions?
If you’re childless, don’t own a home, and/or don’t run a fulltime business, probably not. Last year, I was a full-time independent contractor with side-income and a variety of deductions. After completing my taxes, I decided to pay a professional to review them because I was paranoid and secretly hoped they’d find some missing tax breaks.
They found nothing and informed me that I had done everything correctly. So, you know, that was a great investment of my money.
When can I begin?
The IRS doesn’t start accepting taxes until January 29th. But you can get everything sorted and ready for filing as soon as you have the necessary documents. That includes your W-2s, 1099’s, 1098’s, renter’s payment history, etc. All of the things you’d neither whether you file your own taxes or not.
Still unsure? Why not just try it out? At the very least, it will help you better understand your taxes and personal finances, which is always good.
If you end up owing a bunch of money or your refund seems considerably smaller than past years, you can always consult a tax professional from there. But I think a lot of people will discover they can do just fine on their own.
Have experience with doing your own taxes? Any additional thoughts on the subject? Share below!