Tips to File Your 2019 Taxes Right
If you’ve earned any income throughout 2019, you’ll have to join the rest of us and file a tax return in 2020. But we understand that sometimes filing your return is easier said than done. So, we’ve created this list of tips to make the process a bit simpler.
Choose how to file your taxes: DIY, electronic or tax prep
To file your taxes, you can do one of the following:
- Fill out a 1040 form manually and mail it to the IRS with any payments you owe.
- Pay to use tax software that can help you fill out a 1040 form and file your taxes electronically.
- Consult a tax preparer who can fill out your tax return on your behalf, typically for a standard service charge.
Unless you’re an experienced tax professional, using tax software or a tax pro are likely your best options to maximize your potential deductions.
Gather relevant documents and information
You won’t be able to file your taxes without having the following documents and information on hand:
- Personal data:
- Your social security number.
- Your spouse’s name and Social Security number.
- The dates of birth and Social Security numbers of any dependents you have.
- Tax forms:
- W-2 form if you have an employer.
- 1099 forms if you’re self-employed.
- Receipts and expense statements:
- Self-employment expense receipts.
- Records of any estimated tax payments you’ve made.
- Retirement contribution statements.
- Mortgage interest information.
Familiarize yourself with current tax laws
Tax laws are always changing, so it’s important to understand what they are before you file your return. Here are a few of the 2019 tax laws you should be aware of before you dive in to filing:
If you’re a single taxpayer or married taxpayer filing a separate return, your standard deduction is $12,200; you can claim a $24,400 deduction if you’re married and filing jointly. The standard deduction is how much you can subtract from your wages before your income is assessed its income tax.
You can save on taxes by contributing up to $19,500 during the year to your 401(k) or 403(b). If you’re 50 or older, this amount increases by $6,500. These contributions to your retirement savings are also tax deductible.
After you know your gross income through your W-2 or 1099 and subtracted a rough estimate of your available deductions, you can check the 2019 tax brackets to better estimate how much taxes you’ll need to pay on your income.
Determine if you need to file a tax extension
2020 tax returns for the 2019 tax year are due on April 15, 2020. If you need more time, the IRS will allow you to file an extension and turn in your return by October 15, 2020. Filing an extension could be a good idea if you:
- Need more time to gather all the documents and information you need.
- Will be out of town during tax season.
- Have experienced an unexpected life event.
Wondering how to file a tax extension? You’ll need to fill out an extension request IRS Form 4868 and file your taxes as your normally would by October 15th.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Filing your taxes right can save you a lot of money and headaches in the future. If you have a question about your tax return or are unsure if you’re filing correctly, consult a tax preparer right away. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Good luck and happy filing! And as always, visit Advance America today to learn more about who we are, what money solutions we offer, and why our customers love us, as well as sign up at the bottom of this page to receive emails with more tips like this.