It’s tax season, that time of the year when we gather all of our financial information from the last year to see if we owe the IRS or, even better, get a refund. No matter how you’ve handled your taxes in the past, it’s a good idea to consider the best way to do your taxes every year and steps you can take to make the process as cheap and easy as possible. Here are some handy tax tips for an easy and accurate tax filing experience.
Some people go to a local accountant because that’s what their parents did for their taxes. While there’s nothing wrong with using a local tax expert you trust, you may be able to easily do your taxes yourself for free or at a much lower cost.
If your adjusted gross income for taxes is $73,000 or less and you don’t have complicated taxes, you may be able to use popular tax software at no cost through the IRS Free File program. Major tax apps also offer free versions for anyone with simple tax needs.
Online tax software can still handle most situations if you have a higher income or more complex needs. TurboTax is the most widely used tax service, and Payactiv users save up to $15 when filing with TurboTax. If you get stuck or need help, TurboTax provides options to upgrade for live help or an expert to do your taxes. With the Payactiv Visa® Card*, you can get your tax refund up to four days early, an extra perk of a no-cost Payactiv membership.1
The first step in getting your taxes done is gathering your tax papers and receipts. Depending on your financial situation, that could include pay stubs, forms from your employer, bank, and any investments, and receipts or bank statements showing expenses related to your work, charitable donations, medical costs, and anything else that looks like a form from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
To make sure you don’t misplace or forget about anything, it’s a good idea to keep a folder with all of your tax files for the year. If you get a lot of tax-related paperwork, you could break that up into several folders for tax forms, receipts, and anything else you need to track. Using your computer or a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive, you can create a digital version of this storage system for files you get online and don’t want to print.
If you owe taxes to the IRS when filing, it’s important to get your taxes done on time. If you file late, you could wind up owing penalties and interest, increasing your total tax bill.
If you think you may have trouble paying your taxes, you should still file your taxes by the due date. For 2022, taxes are due on Monday, April 18. In general, taxes are due by April 15th unless it falls on a weekend or holiday. In that case, you can get a few extra days until the following Monday. If you think you will get a refund and need more time, you can file Form 4868 for an automatic six-month extension.
Once your taxes are prepared and filed, you can get onto a payment plan with the IRS, which helps you avoid extra penalties from filing and paying late.
Most people don’t have a degree in accounting or a background in tax prep. If you use online tax software like TurboTax, it will guide you through easy-to-understand questions to fill out your tax forms. Then your computer does all of the math for you. If you get stuck or have questions, you can find many answers in the TurboTax app or freely available on the IRS website.
If you earn $58,000 per year or less, are disabled, or speak limited English, you can get free tax preparation help from volunteers through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. If you’re 60 or older, you can also access the free, and poorly named, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program. Learn more about free tax assistance programs here.
An informed tax filer is in the best position to take advantage of every possible tax deduction and credit to get the most favorable tax results possible. Knowing how to stay organized, get your taxes done on time, and find answers to your tax questions will help you enjoy your easiest (and hopefully cheapest) tax filing experience ever.
Then comes the fun part, putting that refund to good use to pay off debt, save, invest, or help you reach other long-term personal finance goals.
To get started, download the Payactiv app and create an account. If you already have an account, simply log in and save up to $15 on TurboTax.
*The Payactiv Visa® Prepaid Card is issued by Central Bank of Kansas City, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Certain fees, terms, and conditions are associated with the approval, maintenance, and use of the Card. You should consult your Cardholder Agreement and the Fee Schedule at Payactiv.com/card411. If you have questions regarding the Card or such fees, terms, and conditions, you can contact us toll-free at 877-747-5862, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
1 Many (but not all) employers, government benefits providers, and other originators send direct deposits early with an effective date of 1-4 days later. Beginning with your second direct deposit of at least $5 from the same source, Central Bank of Kansas City (CBKC) will post the funds to your Payactiv Visa Prepaid Card when we receive it, rather than on the effective date. This may result in your having access to the funds sooner. The date CBKC receives your direct deposit and the effective date are controlled by the originator.
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* The Payactiv Visa Prepaid Card is issued by Central Bank of Kansas City, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Certain fees, terms, and conditions are associated with the approval, maintenance, and use of the Card. You should consult your Cardholder Agreement and the Fee Schedule at payactiv.com/card411. If you have questions regarding the Card or such fees, terms, and conditions, you can contact us toll-free at 877-747-5862, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
** Central Bank of Kansas City is the issuer of the Payactiv Visa Prepaid Card only and does not administer, endorse, nor is liable for the Payctiv App.
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