It’s tax time. After gathering all of your documentation, printing out the proper forms, making copies of everything and pestering your side gig to send you a W-2 (or 1099), you’re finally ready for the big moment.
Depending on how much you’re owed or owe, tax day can go one of two ways.
For some people, it’s the most dreaded day of the year. For others, it’s better than Christmas.
But regardless of your tax refund status, there’s one thing about tax season that you should know: how to do your own taxes.
If the thought of doing your own taxes fills you with dread, you’re not alone…
Over 60% of Americans will pay for tax filing help in 2017.
But if your tax situation hasn’t changed drastically since last year, it might be an excellent time to get intimate with your 1040 (or 1099s) and do your own taxes!
Nothing will make you feel like more of a badass than tackling the numbers yourself. But that’s not the only reason that you should do your own taxes (at least once) ….
1. Knowledge is Power
There’s nothing wrong with paying a professional for help, (I do!) But you still need to understand the basics of what you need to be able advocate on your own behalf…
Filing your own taxes at least once provides you with insight about how taxes work and helps you understand how to save money on taxes in the future with things like Roth IRA contributions, tuition payments or charitable donations.
But most importantly, when you do your own taxes it helps to demystify the entire process. If you decide to pay for help the following year, you’ll be able to vet your future tax accountant and hold your own in any conversation.
2. More Money
The only thing better than getting a huge refund check in the mail is getting to keep the entire check for yourself.
The average American will spend about $280 on preparing their tax returns in 2017.
With an average refund of $2,945, the price for help isn’t terribly expensive, but I’m guessing you can think of a few more enjoyable ways to spend that money.
Instead of sending nearly $300 to a tax firm this year, why not invest the money in your travel fund?
3. Take Advantage of Free Help
If you earned less than $64,000 last year, then you’re eligible to use the Free File Software from the IRS.
This program makes it easy to file your taxes online and even helps to walk you through the process. You’ll be guided through which form you need to file and how to claim your deductions.
The best part? It’s the same name brand software that you would normally pay for.
Even if you earned more than $64,000 last year, you’re still able to file for free online through the IRS forms.
4. It Will (Likely) Never Be Easier Than it is Right Now
Once you buy the house, get married, have the kid, start your own business and sell some stocks, filing your taxes becomes significantly more complicated.
The best time to try your hand at filing your own taxes is right now.
Your future self will thank you for building a foundation of knowledge and financial strength.