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What Documents Do You Need For Taxes

What Documents Do You Need For Taxes

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Since most people’s financial situations change every year, the question of whether to do your taxes yourself or hire an accountant is a question that comes up every year.

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1. Do it yourself using tax software or through the IRS website. The IRS does not charge taxes. If you’re well versed in tax law (most people aren’t), you can print the paperwork and mail it or request paper forms by mail. However, the IRS encourages online filing and directs taxpayers with income up to $73,000 to its free filing portal, which lists eight qualified tax preparers who offer free services (an additional fee may apply for filing a state return).

For people with incomes over $73,000, you can still find free filing options if you have direct income. A more complex situation — such as self-employment or complicated investments — means you’ll likely need to pay an online tax preparer, which can range from $25 to $100 or more for federal and state filings.

2. Hire a tax preparer to do it for you. The only professionals who can help you are tax attorneys, CPAs, and IRS Enrolled Agents. You can find the relevant authorized processors at taxprepareregistry.com.

What Documents Do You Need For Taxes

Preparers typically start at around $100 and vary depending on where you live and how complex your taxes are, and accountants may very well charge at least double that, with similar price differences by location and complexity. According to the National Association of Tax Professionals, the average fee to prepare and file a tax return is a little more than $200.

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Tell TurboTax about your life and it will guide you step by step. Start your taxes with last year’s information.

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Tip: You can also find a tax professional through an online tax preparer such as H&R Block or TurboTax. These companies offer full-service packages that allow you to share documents with a tax professional and receive a completed return within days. They are generally twice the price of a standard DIY package.

So should you prepare your taxes yourself or hire someone to help you? For most people, it’s not just about price. In the end, it comes down to what suits you best.

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You have the time and patience to deal with it. Taxes probably aren’t something you should be doing with Netflix on in the background. Expect to set aside some time to give it your full attention—the IRS estimates that the average person spends up to seven hours gathering forms and preparing a tax return. If you are a business owner, expect to spend about 20 hours on your taxes.

You have a straight tax situation with no dependents, no investments other than retirement accounts, and no significant assets or charitable contributions. These basic, free versions of the tax preparation software listed above were created for people like you who have few deductions or other financial factors to consider.

Do you own a business or are self-employed and don’t feel comfortable going through business-related tax forms? Business income adds another layer to preparing and filing your tax return. If you’re experienced with business-related tax forms or want to save some money on an accountant, you’re sure to find tax software that fits your specific needs.

What Documents Do You Need For Taxes

You feel comfortable hitting send and want to be in control of your money. Taxes are a big deal. If you’re comfortable navigating the software, looking up questions on the IRS website, and don’t dread having to correct any mistakes, then you’ll probably feel more comfortable doing your own taxes.

What Documents Do I Need For My Taxes?

You don’t have the time or patience to deal with it. If you feel that the significant amount of time you would have to spend on taxes would be better spent elsewhere, you may want to outsource. It’s probably more prudent than rushing your serve and making a mistake.

You have a complicated tax situation with dependents, investments or significant assets or charitable contributions, or you own a business. Almost every financial transaction comes with some tax consequence, and the more transactions you have, the more things you have to consider. In particular, people who own businesses, are freelance or self-employed may need the help of a professional to sort out their atypical tax situations – deductions for home offices, business meals and travel, and vehicles are also red flags for an audit.

You plan to itemize your deductions. If you have large medical expenses, a mortgage, or make large charitable donations (among other things), you can save more money itemizing deductions than taking the standard deduction. However, navigating on your own can be more difficult, especially if it’s your first time.

You’ve gone through a big life change over the past year. did you get married Buy a house? Have a baby? All of these affect your tax return, and at least when you’re first documenting them on your taxes, you might want someone to show you the best way to do it.

What Documents Do I Need To File My Taxes?

You don’t trust yourself to cover all your bases. If the thought of entering numbers and talking about addicts and deductions makes you break out in a cold sweat, you might want to leave the preparation to a professional.

Use our tax calculator to estimate how much you’ll get back in taxes or how much you’ll owe the IRS

With our income tax calculator, you can estimate your federal tax refund or the amount you owe in a few quick and easy steps.

What Documents Do You Need For Taxes

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Tanza is a CFP® professional and former correspondent for Personal Finance Insider. She has broken down personal finance news and written about taxes, investing, retirement, wealth building and debt management. She ran a bi-weekly newsletter and column that answered readers’ questions about money. Tanza is the author of two e-books, The Financial Planner’s Guide and “Monthly Plan to Manage Your Money”. In 2020, Tanza was the editor of Master Your Money, a year-round original series providing financial tools, advice and inspiration for millennials. Tanza joined Business Insider in June 2015 and is a graduate of Elon University, where she studied journalism and Italian. Based in Los Angeles.

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