This post is part of the TaxAct #DIYtaxes blog tour which empowers you to take ownership of your finances by doing your own taxes. TaxAct provides the tools and guidance to help you confidently file your taxes easy and fast. Do your own taxes today at TaxAct.com. You got this.
The deadline for filing income tax returns is exactly one week away (April 18, 2016 for 2015 taxes) which means if you haven’t already filed your taxes you’re down to the wire. You now have two choices: file your taxes within the next 7 days or request an extension.
If you have a simple return, filing yourself is very easy and there’s really no need to put it off. Here are tax tips for last minute filers that will help get you started.
Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
If you look at any tax tips you’re going to see organization at the top of the list. Having everything you need organized and right in front of you is vital when you sit down to prepare your taxes.
Make sure that you have all income statements, personal information of any dependents, interest statements and any other type of tax forms you’ve received in the mail. You can take a look at the list here to see a full run-down of possible tax documents you’ll need.
Get everything you could possibly need gathered up (including last year’s tax return) before you sit down to file your taxes.
The fastest and easiest way to get your taxes done is to file online. Tax software like TaxAct makes filing your own taxes extremely simple.
Here’s a quick rundown of the process:
- Gather up your tax documents and set aside an hour to work on taxes
- Decide what tax software you’re going to use
- Choose the version most applicable to your situation
- Enter all of the info from your tax documents
- Follow the prompts and answer any questions
- Double check your numbers and run alerts
- Submit your tax returns online
It’s really that easy – especially if you have an uncomplicated tax situation.
As an added bonus if you’re expecting a refund you’ll get your money back sooner if you file online. You’ll also have the peace of mind that you’ve made the deadline and avoided penalties and fees.
Don’t Go Too Fast
When you’re trying to beat the tax deadline and have been procrastinating on getting everything finished it’s tempting to try and fly through the filing process – don’t do it! Take the time to make sure you’re inputting numbers correctly and go back and check your work.
Trying to go too fast might cause you to make mistakes.
Look back through all of the numbers you’ve entered, including birthdates and social security numbers. Also be sure that you run alerts on the tax software you’re using. These alerts will show you any potential red flags which you’ll be able to go back and correct if applicable.
Enjoy All of the Other Benefits of #DIYTaxes
One of the biggest benefits of doing your own taxes, especially for last minute filers, is that it’s quick.
You don’t have to worry about making an appointment or sitting in a lobby for two hours hoping someone can squeeze you in. No, you just gather up your stuff, open up your laptop and start working on your own return.
Aside from the speed there are other great benefits to doing your own taxes. While you should definitely enjoy beating the deadline you can also relish in the fact that you’re learning about your finances, learning about tax laws and saving yourself some serious money!
Bottom line: If you haven’t file your taxes yet gather up everything you need and get started. I’m willing to bet that once you start you’ll see just how easy it really is and will wonder why you ever put it off in the first place!
Beating the tax deadline doesn’t have to be stressful. With TaxAct, everything you need to confidently prepare and e-file your taxes is right at your fingertips. You got this. File your simple federal and state return FREE today with TaxAct.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.