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Welcome to Part 4 of the Filing as a Series!

This series will go through the tax season and will cover tax preparation for different life stages and occupations.

I will cover types of income, tax deductions, tax credits, filing requirements, new tax law impacts, tax tips, tax forms, how to file and preparation costs for life stages and occupations. Check out the whole series. 

Life Stage

Married

20s-60s

No kids

Maybe a homeowner

Not a business owner (some of this will still apply, of course, but as a business owner your tax situation is more complicated) 

Filing Status

Married filing joint 

Tax Due Date

Apirl 15th

Income Types

Income from your 8-5 job.  Reported on a W- 2. 

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Form W-2:  This is your wage statement.  It states your wages and withholdings for the year. You will receive this from your employer in January. Keep this sucker! Don’t lose it. Your employer will send a copy of this to the IRS. Soo it is very important that you report this on your Form 1040.

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Tax Deductions

Every year you can either claim the standard deduction or itemize your deductions on your tax return.

The standard deduction for Tax Year 2018 is below:  

  • MFJ: $24,000

You have the option to itemize deductions if your deductions are higher than the amount above.

What are itemized deductions? Check them out here. Learn more about itemized deductions here.

You especially want to check this out if you own a home, have above average medical bills, made charitable donations or pay a good bit of state income tax. 

There have been a lot of tax law changes to itemized deductions this year so you may be surprised that you have use the standard deduction.

TurboTax Deluxe Edition searches for more than 350 tax deductions and credits. Start today.

Tax Credit

Earned Income Credit-  MFJ with no kids, earned income has to be less than $20,950 and investment income lower than $3,500. Maximum credit of $519. 

Savers Tax Credit- If your income is less than $63,000 you can get a credit for contributions to a 401(k) & other certain retirement plans. 

Higher Education credit- check out my post for filing as a college student.

New Tax Law Impacts

Check out this article for tax law changes that could effect you, like lower tax brackets and larger standard deductions.

Check out 6 Ways the New Tax Law could Impact You. 

Tips

  • Its almost always better to file MFJ. Its very rare that filing MFS will actually save taxes. 
  • Newlyweds: Make sure you change your last name with the social security office before you file your return.  Not doing this will  probably cause your e-filed return to be rejected. 
  • File or extend by Apirl 15th
  • Pay by April 15thalways
  • Itemize your deductions if they are higher than the standard deduction
  • Make sure you check your state income tax laws and file if necessary.  
  • Check out my tax term cheat sheet to get familiar with commonly used tax terms. 

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Tax Form

Form 1040. 

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Tax Preparation

I am totally confident you can file your tax return all by yourself. 

Most tax prep software will walk you through all the right steps and guide you on the whole process!  You just have to make sure you keep your tax documents organized. I would suggest preparing your return once you have your W-2 and any other tax document you expect to receive. 

Your employer is required to provide your W-2 by Jan 31st. The IRS starts accepting tax returns around this time as well. So it’s the perfect time to file your return!

In most cases, you can receive a refund within 2-3 weeks from the IRS. About a week after that you normally receive your state refund. You can always check the status of your federal refund below:

https://www.irs.gov/refunds

If for whatever reason you are thinking about extending your tax return, Check out my article on filing extension

Preparation Cost

$0-$100 for self preparation

On most tax prep software you can file a super basic federal and state return for free. If you just have W-2 income you can use TurboTax or E-file.com for freeIf you plan on using any deductions or credits then you would have to choose one of their paid options. 

The next step up from TurboTax’free edition is their deluxe edition. With this link you can get the TurboTax Deluxe Editionfor $39.99(regularly $59.99). Remember you will also have to buy the state package as well, which is another $39.99.  

If you have investment income, rental property or own a business you will have to use the either the Premier or Self Employed Editions. Check the prices here.

The next step up from the E-file.com free edition is their deluxe software. With this link you can get the E-file.com Deluxe Edition for $17.50 (regularly $24.99). Remember you will also have to buy the state package as well, which is another $25– use this link to save $6.  

If you have investment income, rental property or own a business you will have to use their Premier software for $45.99. Check the prices here.

$100-$500 for hiring a tax preparer

This will depend on your tax return complexity and type of tax preparer you hire. 

Bonus Tip

You are able to start now for free with either program, and go back later to actually e-file your return!  

If you have your tax documents handy you can go ahead and check out your refund. 

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my Filing as a Series. I sincerely hope you learned something new! Let me know what you think πŸ™‚

TurboTax for Students: When you file with TurboTax this year we do the hard work for you by giving you a FAFSA friendly view of your taxes that you’ll be able to print. Learn More.

Coming Soon…filing as a ->
  • Parent
  • Divorcee
  • Blogger
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Multilevel Marketing Consultant
  • Homesteader

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This blog is for informational purposes only. This is not intended to be personalized tax, legal or accounting advice.  You should always receive tax advice from someone who is familiar with your unique situation

Want more tax tips – check out my free tax cheat sheets!






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