1. Gather all pertinent information
Taxpayers should have all of their pertinent information organized and handy when preparing to file their taxes. This may include Social Security numbers, wage and earnings information, investment income, and homeownership information.
2. Check filing status
It is important to check one's filing status to ensure that they are claiming the correct tax benefits. For example, head of household filing status may provide more deductions and credits than single filing status.
3. Determine taxable income
Taxable income is the amount of money that is subject to income tax. This may be found by subtracting allowable expenses from one's total income.
4. Report income from all sources
All income earned during the taxable year should be reported on one's tax return, even if it was not taxed previously. This may include tips, interest payments, and dividends.
5. Deduct allowable expenses
Expenses that are related to earning income or that were necessary for the operation of a business can be deducted from one's taxable income. These may include business expenses, student loan interest payments, and alimony payments.
6. File returns on time
Returns must be filed by the April deadline in order to avoid penalties and fees. e-file with direct deposit is the fastest way to get one's refund back.
7. Claim all available tax credits and deductions
There are a number of credits and deductions available for taxpayers to claim on their returns. These include the child tax credit, the Earned Income Credit, and the mortgage interest deduction.
8. Review return for accuracy
It is important to review one's return for any mistakes before submitting it to the IRS. This may help avoid potential delays or additional fees.
9. Protect taxpayer information
Taxpayers should take precautions to protect their personal information from unauthorized access or use. This may include shredding old tax documents and using strong passwords for online accounts.