How to self file a tax return: step by step instructions

We won’t pretend that taxes are fun. Taxes is a burden. But most people are not so hard to clean up their tax Affairs. Instructions on how to file a tax return, offers The Penny Hoarder.

Как самостоятельно подать налоговую декларацию: пошаговая инструкция

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What you need to do first

Earn more money — almost always good. But it is also true that the more you earn, the more taxes you have to pay — at least up to a point (no wonder they say: more money more problems).

On the opposite end of the spectrum is a different situation. You may be exempt from filing a tax return if you do not meet the income threshold IRS, which may change. The main number that you need to know is 12 $ 200. This income threshold, after which single people under 65 years need to file taxes.

But more specific requirements are determined by other aspects of your filing status, such as marital status and presence of dependents.

For example, if you are married and are applying jointly, the income threshold is doubled to 24 $ 400 — and increases even more if one or both of you already celebrated its 65th anniversary. The numbers are also changing, if you are a widow/widower or the head of your family.

There are many practical rules concerning the filing of tax returns. For example, you always must file taxes if they are withheld from your payroll checks and you can not claim exemption from taxes alone, if you are a dependent.

But the best way to determine whether you need to file a tax return is to use free online tool the IRS, which takes about 12 minutes and allow you to know the exact answer to this question.

How to calculate your taxes

So, you have successfully determined whether you need to file a tax return. It’s time to figure out how much you — or you — needs.
Your taxes are calculated on the basis of some personal information, such as how much money you earned in this tax year, how much have you paid in taxes, and even your personal relationships matter.

That is, your tax burden will be different if you are applying alone or married jointly if the children or other relatives dependent on you in terms of financial support (this is dependent).

Your Federal income tax is determined depending on the class of taxation, that increase in percentage with increasing total income. For 2019, there are 7 Federal classes constituting from 10% to 37% of your income.

10% of income

  • 0% (taxable income for singles);
  • 0% (taxable income for joint filing married);

12% of income

  • $9700 (taxable income for singles);
  • $19 400 (taxable income for joint filing married);

22% of the income

  • $475 39 (taxable income for singles);
  • $78 950 (taxable income for joint filing married);

24% of the income

  • $84 200 (taxable income for singles);
  • $168 400 (taxable income for joint filing married);

32% of the income

  • $160 725 (taxable income for singles);
  • $321 450 (taxable income for joint filing married);

35% of income

  • $204 100 (taxable income for singles);
  • $408 200 (taxable income for joint filing married);

37% of the income

  • $510 300 (taxable income for singles);
  • $612 350 (taxable income for joint filing married).

In addition to Federal income taxes and your contributions to social security and Medicare you will be responsible for filing a Declaration of state and payment of state income taxes if you do not live in one of the 7 States that have them, these taxes are not charged:

  • Alaska;
  • FL;
  • Nevada;
  • North Dakota;
  • Texas;
  • Washington;
  • Wyoming.

43 rates in other States range from as much as 13% to almost zero, and may vary depending on income or assessed at a fixed rate. Contact the professional in your area (or just Google) to see the details of the tax legislation in your state.

Deductions and credits

You may be eligible for certain tax deductions such as interest payments on a student loan. Tax deductions can reduce a significant part of what you otherwise would have to pay the IRS, sometimes substantially increasing your return by reducing total taxable income.

This is especially true if you are a freelancer, and in this case you can deduct a number of business expenses, which can not make people working from 9 to 17.

You also can deduct the interest paid on your mortgage, charitable donations, and more. Or in your best interest to take the standard deduction, which for 2019 is quite generous 12 $ 200 for single applicants (or 24 $ 400 for those who are married and submit a joint Declaration).

There are also certain tax credits that you can claim, for example, the American Opportunity Credit, which offers some students up to $ 2,500 per year for reimbursement of expenses for College tuition or Child Care Credit, which offers some guardians up to $ 3,000 each to offset the costs of children.

Contributions to pension savings can also give you a tax credit of up to 50% of your pension plan, depending on contributions, account type and adjusted gross income.

Tax credits differ from deductions: a deduction reduces your taxable income, a tax credit reduces what you owe the government.

Important calculations

If you file your tax return, most likely, your situation will not be too difficult and you will be able to cope with the most simple version of the IRS form — Form 1040.

This document uses information about your income, taxes deducted, marital status, and dependents, to determine whether you give or receive money.

Most people fill this form using as a guide the document W-2 issued by your employer. It lists your total wages and deductions including Federal income tax, Medicare and Social Security. It is distributed by employers no later than January 31, in our days it is often digital.

Equivalent W-2 for the freelancer, the 1099 form, although in these papers there is no information about the withholding tax because independent contractors are themselves responsible for this.

The more complicated your financial landscape, the harder it will be to file a return and the more forms you will need to add to it. For example, if you have additional sources of income through capital gains, unemployment compensation, gambling or prizes, you need to file Schedule 1 along with form 1040.

There are also additional forms for those who have to pay tax on self-employment or may require a refundable credit (the IRS lists some of the common scenarios for more filing and required documents on the page “About the form 1040”).

Of course, the calculations can be difficult — so many people are turning to the software or professional services to make the process of filing taxes less time consuming. The costs are range from a few dollars for the updating of digital registration before payment of the accountant.

How to file a tax return

It’s time to clean up the calculator and file a tax return. You have several options, more or less easy or costly compared to other.

Here are the options:

  • Complete the electronic documentusing a free tool the IRS. This is a good option for those who have relatively simple taxes, especially if you earn less than 69 000 (those earning more can still use this tool, but the software only performs basic mathematical calculations and preparation of tax revenues of the state are not available).
  • Complete the electronic document using the private tax software such as TurboTax or H & R Block. Most of these services offer free registration option, and they make the process very simple: just fill out a few forms, click a few buttons, and your tax return will open. The free service applies to basic Federal and state taxes, making it a more complete tool than the IRS. However, if your financial situation is more complex — for example, income includes the interest on the mortgage loans or the income from renting real estate, you may have to upgrade to a paid level Commission from 80 to 100 dollars.
  • Submit the paper Declaration — manually send completed paper forms to the IRS by mail. It is definitely cheap, but it is a great way to make mistakes, especially if you are not an expert on taxes. But if you are confident in your calculator here is the complete list of mailing addresses for the IRS States.
  • Hire a tax specialist. Although this is perhaps the most expensive course in this list, it is also the least stressful — and if you make enough to cover it without any changes in the budget, it can be justified. A certified accountant or tax service can ensure that you receive the most generous refund possible and you don’t have to count.

After you apply, you will receive a tax refund — if you must — for about four weeks, either by paper check or by direct Deposit.

Similarly, if you owe taxes, you can pay them through the digital system, direct transfer or credit card, or mail a paper check to the correct address for your state.

Last advice: be sure to consider also the state taxes that may have to send to another address you will find on the official website of the Department of taxation and revenue of your state.

Although tax Day is not the most favorite holiday, I hope that filing taxes will not be a serious difficulty. And yet this process is a nice bonus for some people the tax refund just in time for summer.


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