Doing your Taxes

"But in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes."    --- Benjamin Franklin

It's a fact that taxes are one of life's inevitabilities.  Planning ahead and staying on track with your preparation can make the process of filing your taxes a little less daunting.

Generally speaking, the IRS requires that you file a tax return every year.  For most taxpayers the tax year is the same as the calendar year.  You prepare and file your income tax return no later than April 15th of the year following the tax year, unless you request an extension using the IRS Form 4688.  Saving and categorizing records of deductions throughout the year will help you be ready to file when the time comes.   

Because mistakes can cost you - both time and money - it's important to know the rules and to take advantages of the resources available to you.  If you choose to prepare and file your own taxes, be sure to read through all of the directions and seek out answers to your questions.  The Internal Revenue Services website, IRS.gov , offers tons of filing information. You might also consider using a tax preparation software program, such as TurboTax.  This software program walks you through the preparation process, asking you simple questions and even pointing out valuable facts that may save you money.  You can then electronically file both your state and federal taxes with the e-file service.

As a third option, consider hiring a tax professional to complete your return.  A tax professional will likely cost more than the other options but will provide you with customized advice for filing.

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