There’s a saying that says there are only two things in life that are certain: death and taxes.
And while that’s true, that doesn’t mean you can’t save money on getting your taxes done.
When your financial situation isn’t complicated
If you just have one W-2 form and you don’t itemize your expenses, there are plenty of ways to get your taxes done for free or cheap.
You can use free online tax preparation software like H&R Block, TurboTax, or TaxAct and file your federal tax return for free. Your state tax preparation will cost just a little bit more (usually around $20 or $30). You will usually have to meet some income guidelines to qualify for these free online tax prep services.
Many libraries and community centers around the country offer free tax preparation services through the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. Trained volunteers will help you figure out your taxes if you’ve made less than $50,000. In addition, free volunteer tax preparation for seniors is available through AARP, and to members of the military through the Armed Forces Tax Council.
You could also ask a friend or family member for help. If you know someone who loves crunching numbers and doing paperwork, ask them if they’d be willing to do your return. In return, you could offer to help them with a project around their house or babysit their kids.
When your tax situation is trickier
If you’re self-employed, have numerous investments, claim lots of deductions, or simply don’t feel comfortable doing your own taxes, then you’ll need to find somewhere to get your tax return professionally done.
Check out places like H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt for affordable tax preparation services. Look for coupons and special offers to help you save. Many tax preparation services like these charge fees based on how many forms you need to fill out, so the simpler your return, the less expensive it will be.
Hire an accountant. Get price quotes from several accountants and ask friends and families for references. You want to save money on completing your returns, but not at the expense of an audit. Accountants typically charge by the hour, so the more homework you do before you go to your appointment, the less you’ll spend completing your tax returns.
No matter what method you decide, keeping good records is the best way to ensure a smooth tax prep experience. Take your time, check over your work, and file as soon as you can. Then you can start working on your strategies for after tax refund season.
How do you save on your income tax filing?
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