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How to Do Your Own Taxes

How to Do Your Own Taxes

Keith Reid-Cleveland:

More daylight, blooming gardens, and baseball's return signal to most that spring has returned in the U.S.

Another sign of the season typically falls on April 15 in most years.

That’s tax day.

So, what do you need to do to file your own taxes?

Morningstar’s Christine Benz recommends beginning with an online tax preparation checklist to gather the necessary documents.

Some of the information you will need includes:

  • Your social security number and bank account info.
  • A W-2, a 1099, or other forms documenting proof of income.

If you plan to claim deductions you’ll want to gather documents for:

  • education expenses
  • child care costs
  • charitable donations, etc.

The federal government sets a standard deduction at certain amounts depending on your filing status. You may want to itemize if your numbers can beat the current standard deduction. However, you will need to pull together supporting documents.

Next, it will be time to file your taxes.

You can file your federal taxes for free online at

. The agency offers multiple options based on your income. Instructions for filing your state taxes will vary from state to state.

You can also choose a brand-name tax-filing software to file your taxes. Often this option will allow you to file both your state and federal taxes at once. The fees for using these services will vary, so pay close attention.

When everything is said and done, you’ll either be getting a refund or sending out a check. Whatever the outcome, a little prep can help take the stress out of filing your own taxes.

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