First-time filing tips

First-time filing tips

Although the tax deadline is still three months away, it is helpful to get a start on them early and if it is your first time, it can be an intimidating task.

First of all, you have to find out which tax form to use. It can be complicated to know which form to use without help. The Internal Revenue Service has a clear list of requirements to help you know what form you will need to file. There are three types of tax forms: 1040EZ, 1040A and 1040.

The 1040EZ form is the simplest one. It is for those people who are single or married filing jointly, have no dependents and earn less than $100,000 a year. This form does not allow for education credit or charitable donations.

The 1040A form is similar to the 1040EZ except it allows for dependents. It also lets you file for deductions including payments on student loan interest and tuition and fees.

The 1040 form is required for those who earn $100,000 or more in the year. It is beneficial for individuals who have deductions that combined are more than $6,100 for a single person or $12,200 for a married couple. Education credit can also be deducted on this form.

If you have not filed as an independent before then you will need to check with your parents to see if they are claiming you or not. If they are paying for less than 50 percent of your support, you have the right to file yourself.

The IRS begins accepting returns on Jan. 31, so if you have not received all of your W2 forms from each employer by then, talk to your manager about getting the forms you need. Many companies have electronic W2 forms available, so it is even easier to access them.

If you qualify to include deductibles like payments on student loan interest, tuition and fees or other deductions on your form, have those documents along with your W2.

Deductibles are expenses that you can subtract from your total income. Put simply, they are certain things you pay for that do not have to be taxed, which means less money that you have to pay.

Scholarships do not have to have taxes paid on them unless they have been used to pay for room and board. If that is the case, be ready to include that information on your form. The tuition and fees form will be sent out by UVU soon so make sure that you have your address updated on your student profile.

If you have worked in multiple states, make sure that you know which address you want to use. This sounds obvious but when you go to school in one state and spend summers in another, it could be confusing.

Also, make sure to include any dependents. Dependents are anyone that you support financially, which could include a spouse, children or other people that may be getting help from you.

Once you have all of your documents and information and know which form to file, you are ready to get started. It can take some time to get through all of the requirements so give yourself some time, especially if it is your first time filing.

There are a few different places online where you can file for free. Some of these include IRS Free File, hrblock.com and turbotax.intuit.com.

These sites and others let you file your federal taxes for free and a small fee for each state tax filed. Plus, you can pay any taxes you owe online and enter your direct deposit information to get a faster tax refund than waiting for a check to come in the mail.

Whichever method you use to file, be sure to double and triple check the information you enter. If just one number or letter is wrong, it can delay your refund or even get notices sent to you. It is a lot easier to prevent mistakes than correct them.

Even if you are a math wizard, use a calculator to add up any amounts that need to be totaled. Again, mistakes can be quite a hassle.

Once you have completed your form, wait to submit it. Let it sit overnight then check it again to make sure that you got everything correct.

If along the way you get stuck or have questions, check irs.gov. They have included a lot of helpful information. There are also many tax professionals that can be useful for taxpayers.

Amanda is a senior studying journalism with a minor in digital media. She loves writing lifestyle and enjoys being a part of the UVU Review staff to be able to prepare for when she graduates in 2015. Follow her on Twitter @HollmanAmanda.

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