This post includes affiliate links.  This means that a special tracking code is used and I will receive a commission at no cost to you. This supports my family so I can provide you with great content. 

Welcome to Part 5 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



babies, tots, kids, teens, college students

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. 

30% Off With this link or Coupon Code “SAVE30” at

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

Get your biggest tax refund guaranteed with TurboTax. The #1 best selling tax software. Start for free.

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 amounts 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 Credits

Child Tax Credit-  $2,000 credit for each qualifying child! This amount has doubled since last year!! Check out this article to get all the details. 

Childcare tax credit-  A credit up to $3,000 per child.  Check out this post to  get all the details. You may be surprised as what qualifies as eligible child care. 

Earned Income Credit-  If you make under $55,000 as a couple you may qualify for this credit. More kids-> higher credit.  Check out the income limits and credit amounts here:

Savers Tax Credit- If your combinedincome 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 filing as a college student. If you pay for your child’s tuition you could be eligible to claim education credits on your return. These credits include the American Opportunity Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit and Hope Credit. 

New Tax Law Impacts

There are no longer personal exemptions for yourself or dependents!

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

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


  • 529 Plan- allows you to contribute funds to plan and the IRS does not tax the interest accumulated.  Any withdrawals must be used for eligible educational expenses. 
  • It’s almost always better to file MFJ. Its very rare that filing MFS will actually save taxes. 
  • File or extend by April 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. 

$6 Off State Filings With Coupon Code “6OFFSTATE” at

Tax Form

Form 1040. 

TurboTax Free Edition. $0 Fed. $0 State. $0 to File. Start Now!

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:

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 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’s free edition is their deluxe edition. With this link you can get the TurboTax Deluxe Edition for $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.comfree edition is their deluxe software. With this link you can get the 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 🙂

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 ->
  • Divorcee
  • Blogger
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Multilevel Marketing Consultant
  • Homesteader

Limited Time Offer: Save $20 on TurboTax Deluxe, now only $39.99. Start Now!

30% Off With this link or Coupon Code “SAVE30” at

If you would like to know when the next post is released – sign up below and I will shoot you an email ->

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!