How do I file my Taxes?

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As as single person, couple, or family, you don’t necessarily have to pay money to file your taxes. Tax laws are free to read, the forms can be downloaded for free, and you can mail them in for the price of postage.  The question is, do you want to pay to make this process easier, and how much.

Complete forms by hand

You can file federal taxes and state taxes for free just be downloading the forms and filing them out. This costs time and patiencepostage, and 4-6 weeks to process. You really just have to slowly follow the directions on the forms and be able to do basic math. Unfortunately, the directions on these forms are confusing since there are so any deductions and scenarios to account for. This can take 1 – 8 hours depending your situation. But if you don’t mind learning new things, it might be worth a try.

Complete forms Electronically on your own

The future is here. You can file online and get a quicker return. Some states have a good software tool to walk you through this. The IRS points you to approved free software sites.  The government prefers this method as well since it saves them costs. The cost is time to go through particular sites and pay for the electronic transaction ($5).  *Please be careful of add-on schemes like putting your refund on a free credit card.

Use Online Services like HRBlock and Turbotax

I suggest this route! The nice thing about software is it simplifies the process by asking you questions. So you don’t have to go through form by form. These have come a long way and are pretty easy to use.If you have a simple scenario consider trying one of the major products. They offer free filing for simple scenarios.  The cost is the transaction for filing electronically. You might just have to pay to file your state taxes electronically.

If you have a more complex process, such as a house or business with lots of deductions, this is also a great option. The cost is some time and $50 – $150 for each package. Not bad. *Please be careful of add-on schemes like putting your refund on a free credit card.

Use a Professional

You can also just contact a local tax professional. This is the safest bet if you have a lot of deductions or just don’t want to deal with math or thinking about this much. The cost will be $250 -$500. You are paying for their time, expertise, software, and filing fees.

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