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File Your Own Taxes - Tips for Preparing Your Tax Return

Updated on January 30, 2013

It's Tax Time!


How to Prepare and File Your Own Income Taxes for Free

Let’s face it; if you are a wage earner in America then you are probably being inundated with advertisements from tax preparation companies.

And it’s not just the national tax services bombarding the radio stations, television airwaves, mail and phone lines; it’s the local CPA and accounting offices as well.

If you are entitled to receive a refund you probably want to get your money back from the government as fast as you can. Well they want a piece of your cash just as bad.

Cold Hard Cash

Plan, prepare and save your money.  You work to hard for it to just give it away without planning.
Plan, prepare and save your money. You work to hard for it to just give it away without planning. | Source

The Race for Your Tax Return

Like politicians, accountants, bookkeepers and national tax preparers start soliciting early. Some even start before the IRS has dried the ink on the latest tax booklet.

The competition to earn your business is fierce.

If you are a free-market type of person like I am then you like it – the competition of course, not all the ads. However, if you’re not the free-market type then you just might be scratching your head right now wondering why I’m so happy about competition.

Please don’t let your finger linger too long.

The answer is clear: competition drives down prices which ultimately leads to a win for the little guy –the middle income wage earner.

Good News for Some Middle Income Wage Earners

Taxpayers that qualify can file their taxes for free.

Thanks to the federal government taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) less than $57,000 may be able to use the Free File tax software provided by the IRS and private tax preparation firms.

Are you skeptical about free money?

Well some people are.   Some people just don’t like the idea of getting something without giving something.   If you are one them don’t hold your head down in despair for too long, there are other low cost options.
Well some people are. Some people just don’t like the idea of getting something without giving something. If you are one them don’t hold your head down in despair for too long, there are other low cost options. | Source

Low Cost Tax Preparation Options that Make Tax Filing Easier

Did you know that you could file your taxes using your iPhone or Android?

Yes, there’s an app for that. It won’t cost you a pretty penny either and most are free. The most popular apps can be purchased at national tax preparation services like H&R Block and TurboTax. This is a great solution for people with simple tax preparation needs like college students and 1040EZ files.

How To Know If It's Right For You

Do you feel like your taxes are too complicated to do them yourself?

Ask yourself the following questions to determine if preparing your own taxes is right for you.

  • Do you have dependents?
  • Do you receive your income from multiple sources?
  • Are you self-employed?
  • Got investments like stocks, bonds and mutual funds?
  • Do you want to take advantage of deductions, credits, etc?

If you answered yes to more than two of the above questions, you might want to consult a tax professional. Tax laws have changed and they may impact you. An experienced tax professional should have the most up-to-date information.

Even if your return is more complicated the average taxpayer, your savings solution still can be simple and easy.

There are an array of easy to use do-it-yourself tax software programs on the market. Most programs ask easy-to-understand questions to guide you through the preparation process. They pretty much do all the calculations for you.

Prices can range from free to upward of $100 which is still less expensive than the $100 to $150 per hour a tax professional might charge.

You can even purchase an upgrade to cover you in case of an audit or provide you with a free phone consultation to help you prepare your own taxes. Look for the deluxe or premium edition if you think you’ll need additional features, benefits and/or services.

A Thoughtful Approach to Tax Preparation & Planning


Still wondering whether or not you should prepare you own taxes?

The best approach to tax planning and preparation is a thoughtful one. Remember to weigh your options and consider the costs. Get recommendations from family and friends who have prepared their own taxes in past. A little research coupled with a few recommendations may be all you need to help you make a decision.

Now, that you are armed with many of the resources you need; get started today.

Happy tax filing!


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