Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pro Tips for Tax Season

All right kiddos,
It’s that time of the year again! And by that time of the year I mean tax return season. If you haven't spent received your return already, you should be getting it shortly. Did you not get a return? Are you wondering why? Are you now worried that you missed a deadline? If you're worried, it is entirely possible that you failed to file your taxes by April 15th (which is the deadline), so I thought I'd give you a little briefing so you're prepared for next tax season and answer questions including: 
– Is this going to cost me anything?
– How much effort is this going to require?
– What are my taxes even doing?
– Can I just ignore this whole thing and keep living young n wild n free?
To answer the last question on that list- NO. Sorry, you do actually have to pay attention to taxes. Luckily we’ve got a little bit of experience under our belts and are here to give you the quick & dirty.*
The short story:
Taxes are really important to keep this country going- they do things like repair
roads, fund public education, and other important government-provided services.
The long story:
Read if you dare.
The lingo:
The IRS: Stands for the Internal Revenue Service. They’re part of the Department of
the Treasury and handle anything and everything related to taxes. Which
is a lot.
Audit:      Depends on the context, but what we’re talking about here is the IRS giving you side eye because you’re doing something that seems shady. Obviously if you’re a multimillionaire your audit is going to be a little different than if you make $250 a month at the library, but this is just someone checking out your tax records again to make sure you aren’t evading taxes, committing fraud, etc. Also known as: something you really don’t want to happen to you. Pay your taxes.
W2:        This is a report you should receive from your employer. It has the information you need to complete your income taxes, like how much you made that fiscal year, how much was automatically deducted for taxes, how much was deducted for your 401k that you don’t actually have yet, etc. etc.
1040EZ:  Probably the only thing you’ll be filling out right now  (Unless you are Lorde, in which case your taxes will probably be much more complicated. If you are in fact Lorde, you also probably have a very hip, Australian tax person so you don’t really need to be here.) This is your basic federal income tax form that’s going to ask you about things like dependents, property, etc. Don’t let it scare you- it’s actually really easy.
The who/what/when/where/how:
– Unless you sold an app at the age of 16 or are, as we mentioned previously, Lorde,
as a student or early twenty-something your taxes are probably going to be pretty
simple. By simple we mean filing your taxes will either be free or cost <$50 and
take under an hour.
– You generally have to file by April 15th. You can apply for an extension, but as a
college student you proooobably aren’t going to qualify for one.
– Make sure you have your W2!!!!!!!!!!
– File online. H&R Block has free online tax services that make it really easy.
– Speaking of filing online, FILE ONLINE. Companies that specialize in taxes make it
a lot easier to make sure you’re doing everything you need to (because we want to
avoid that #auditgrind) so take advantage of them.
– You’ll get your return a lot faster if you set up direct deposit instead of asking to get
a check in the mail. If you don’t know your routing number/check number (like me
and probably everyone under the age of 25 because what college sophomore do
you know that has their own checkbook), go on your bank’s website. Routing
numbers are easy to look up and you can get your checking number if you receive
online statements.
That’s all the advice we have! If you or someone you know is a tax expert, please feel free to let us know any additions/changes you suggest.
Yasi “Probs going to bake cookies for my local H&R Block peeps”
*Disclaimer: We are not nor do we claim to be tax experts! This information is intended as friendly advice only and we cannot be held accountable for any miscommunications, misinterpretations, misinformation, etc.