How to do your taxes yourself

Have you ever wanted to learn how to do your own taxes? How I finally learned to do my taxes!This is only the second year that I’ve done my taxes by myself. I used to get really intimidated by doing them. My mother is a CPA who specialized in tax accounting and it never made sense that I should learn to do them myself when she could just do them.

Finally last year she said that I was totally competent enough to try it. I’m always talking about being confident and educating yourself on finances, but I was so scared to do my taxes. “But you’re so good at it,” I told her. It’s hard to want to do something yourself when there’s a qualified professional who is morally obligated to help you. Plus, I’m an only child – how many tax returns was she doing, anyway?

Finally I decided I’d give a try. I signed up for TurboTax, which is what my mom and countless other people use. I had all my documents laid out and since I don’t have a house, my taxes only consist of a W2 and a few 1099s since I freelance a few¬†times a year and also receive¬†bonuses when I open bank accounts.

You know how when people tell you that what you’re about to attempt is actually easier than you think it’ll be? That’s what doing my taxes was like. Once I got started, I saw that TurboTax is as easy as people say. It walks you through everything and even though answering all those questions can seem time-consuming, the program makes sure that you get the refund you deserve.

Plus, there’s no better “adult” feeling than doing your own taxes. I feel like I should get an award or something.

A friend of mine, accountant Eric Nisall, once said, “[Tweet “Unless you have a really unique situation, there’s no reason you can’t do your taxes yourself”]. TurboTax makes it so easy and painless. It easy sends the returns for you so you don’t have to go to the post office. (Side note: I buy my TurboTax software at Costco because they have really good deals).

One thing I really don’t want you to do is to use a service like H&R Block to do your taxes. They charge hundreds of dollars for simple returns, many of which you can do yourself. Read these complaints for people who overpaid for their services (who charges $400 for a federal return?).

If you’re self-employed, own a business or have a rental property, you might want to consult a real accountant. But even TurboTax makes editions for people with more complicated returns.

If you need other resources or tips about doing your taxes, here’s a list below. And if you’re confused about why you owe so much or why your refund was huge, read this post on changing your allowances.

Here are some of my favorite tax resources:

Do you do your taxes yourself? What software do you use?

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