There are many different ways to prepare your income tax return. Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, tax preparation can be relatively easy and stress-free if you make an effort to understand the process and your options. Gather the appropriate documents. Preparing a tax return is much less stressful when you are organized and have all the proper paperwork laid out in front of you. In general, this includes income statements (W-2 and 1099 tax forms) as well as receipts for tax deductions and contributions. Decide which filing method is best for you. You typically have 3 tax filing options: paper filing, tax preparation software, or hiring a professional.
- Paper Filing ― Even in today’s day and age of digital technology, many people still feel more secure preparing taxes with good old pen and paper. With paper filing, you are in charge of every detail from start to finish – but there is no immediate tax help available.
- Tax Preparation Software ― Tax preparation software is becoming more and more popular for many reasons. Most tax preparation programs will be able to answer any questions you may have. Additionally, much of the software is built to help you take advantage of as many tax deductions and tax credits as possible. Sites like 1040.com allow you to complete, print, and e-file your federal tax return all from the comfort of your computer.
- Tax Professional ― When you hire a professional to prepare your federal income tax return, you are generally cutting out all of the “guesswork.” You can be confident that your return is accurate and that you are saving as much money as possible. The downside to this is that you will pass the control to the tax professional, and of course, you have to pay for this tax preparation service.
No matter what option you choose to prepare your taxes, one thing remains the same: you need to be organized and have the proper documents on hand. Traditional Mail or Online Filing? Those who are filing a paper tax return will need to mail it to the IRS upon completion. On the other hand, if you are using tax preparation software or filing through a tax professional, electronic filing may be a better option. Tax returns that are submitted electronically are often processed faster, which means a faster tax refund for the taxpayer. Click HERE to file your taxes online.