Being out in the world on your own for the first time in your life is both exciting and terrifying. You may be a second-year college student starting your first job while moving into the dorms. Perhaps you found work that pays well, allowing you to move out of your parents’ house, or you’re an employed young adult living at home. With adult life comes responsibilities that you may not be too familiar with, such as filing your taxes.
Your parents may have done your taxes in the past, but now it’s a responsibility that rests on your shoulders. So, you probably have questions like, “Where do I start? What documents do I need? When are they due? What are taxes?”
Even experienced taxpayers find filing a bit scary or irritating—but panic less and focus more! Here are a few good tips for first time tax filers from a professional accountant in Jamestown, ND:
- Don’t slack on organizing your W-2s: First and foremost, organization is key to surviving the tax season in one piece—even if you have an accountant. Know that your employer or employers from the current tax year will be mailing you the appropriate W-2 forms so you can file the correct salary. If you’ve done independent contracting work (working freelance for a business or other employer), you should receive a 1099-MISC form instead of a W-2. No matter your employment status, all the forms you are getting typically should arrive in late January or early February.
- Discuss tax plans with your parents: Since you are a first time filer, it’s good to talk with your parents about taxes. After all, they have been filing for years and are likely willing and able to answer your questions. But be sure to collaborate with your parents on some particular aspects of taxes—especially if they are going to claim you as a dependent, which they can do up to a certain age. Specifically, they might want to use you as an additional deduction, or claim your college tuition and books. Only one party can claim such deductions.
- Don’t wait until the last minute: It’s important that new filers start early and seek professional tax help before it’s too late. If you freeze up or it comes to light that you have no idea what you’re doing, set up a meeting with an accountant in Jamestown, ND as soon as possible to avoid an IRS late penalty.
- Avoid rushing the process: If you’re expecting a refund, then making a mistake on your taxes can be costly. Let’s say you are still waiting for a few tax documents or some vital information, but the filing deadline is near. Stay calm and don’t feel hurried. Instead, fill out and submit the IRS form that allows you to request more time to file.
Know that you don’t have to tackle your first tax season alone—or any other tax time, for that matter. When you trust the team at Craig S. Hanson, CPA, you can rest assured that your taxes are in the hands of a knowledgeable accountant in Jamestown, ND. Contact us today!