If you are employed then you will probably have tax deducted from your pay check each time you get paid. However, until you have filed a tax return, you will not know if you have paid too much tax or if you still have more to pay. It is not as difficult as many people think to fill out a tax return, although the jargon that is used can make the process seem more complicated than it actually is. There are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure that you get your tax return right first time and avoid any problems further down the line.
Make sure you are using the Right Forms
There are different forms available depending on your individual circumstances, so it is important to ensure that you are using the right form. The 1040EZ form is considered to be one of the easiest forms to fill out and is also one of the least time consuming. You cannot use this form if you have any dependents but there are alternatives available. All forms are available to download from the IRS website and there is guidance available about choosing the right form to use.
Ask a Tax preparer to check your Forms
If you want to ensure that you have filled out your forms correctly before you file your returns then you can ask a tax preparer to check them over before they are filed. Most companies will offer this service for a very low fee; you may even be able to find one that will do it free of charge. You will need to remember that these companies will be very busy in the run up to the filing date so you are likely to need to make an appointment in advance. The appointment should take no longer than half hour and the tax preparer will be able to tell you if anything needs changing on your forms or if there is anything else that you need to include.
Ensure you File as soon as possible
Ideally you will want to file your return before the date that it is due, but if this date has passed then you should still file it as soon as possible. Even if you cannot pay the tax that you owe you should still submit your return as you may be able to request an extension giving you more time to pay, or make an arrangement to pay in installments. You may incur penalties and interest charges if you do not submit your tax returns on time, and, if you are due a refund, this may be withheld. There are also other consequences such as mortgage applications being delayed as you will need to supply a copy of your filed tax return to the mortgage provider as part of your application.
While filling out your tax return may seem daunting at first, it is actually not as complicated as most people imagine and there is a lot of help out there if you do find that you need some additional advice or guidance. US individual tax returns have to be submitted on an annual basis and so once you have been doing it for a few years you will find that it becomes easier to do. You should always try to submit on time as there are consequences for not doing so and you may end up having to pay more if interest or other charges are added.
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