5 Simple Steps to Filing Your Taxes
When tax time rolls around, the hassle of getting your taxes filed easily and on time is likely all that’s on your mind—besides that refund, of course. Making sure your taxes are filed properly is the best way to decrease your stress and increase the size of your tax refund. Luckily, it only takes 5 simple steps to get from start to finish.
Tax time is right around the corner, which means the possibility of a satisfying refund is too. Unfortunately, many people find themselves rushing around to get their taxes filed at the last minute after putting off the bothersome work of gathering their paperwork and starting the filing process.
Not this year!
At Currency Exchange, we love making your life (and finances) easier. Make your tax filing process as simple and stress-free as possible with our 5-step guide. You might find that staying organized prevents any errors that could delay or reduce that much-desired tax refund.
Your Fast and Easy Guide to Filing Taxes
Step 1: Gather Your Documents
The first step always seems like the most daunting, but our easy checklist will do the heavy lifting for you. Before you get to filing, you’ll need to get to your files. Gather up all the tax documents you’ll need to begin the process of filing your taxes. This will make the entire process flow smoothly, rather than have you running back and forth for each missing item.
Here is your simple tax filing forms checklist:
• W-2 forms
• 1099 forms
• Investment income statements
• Mortgage interest statements
There are certain scenarios that warrant the use of different documents, such a moving or changing your name. While you might worry these differences could make your tax filing process a hassle, you can prep early by making sure you have the right forms in time for tax season. Here are some of the particular forms you might need:
• SS-5 forms are used for those who’ve changed their names.
• W-4 forms are used for adjusting tax withholdings based on changes in household income.
• 8822 forms are used for those who’ve moved.
The more important part of filing your taxes is prepping. Make sure you’ve got all your forms in a row (or a file) by the start of February to make filing your taxes as simple as can be.
Step 2: Make Your Decision Between Itemizing and the Standard Deduction
The two options for filing your taxes offer distinct pros and cons that require a little consideration. To get your taxes filed, you’ll need to decide between opting for the standard deduction or itemizing your deductions.
While the verbiage might not be clear, the outcome definitely is: tax deductions lower the amount of income you’ll be taxed on, which means a lower tax bill. To decide between these options, consider that the standard deduction for the 2020 tax year is $12,400 for single filers and $28,400 for joint filers. Itemizing is a better option if you believe you’ve got the documentation to write off more than what the standard deduction offers.
If you decide to go the route of itemizing, go back to step 1, and start your gathering process again. This time, collect receipts to back up claims for expenses such as:
• Education expenses
• Charitable contributions
• Medical and dental expenses
• Childcare costs
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry—tax preparers like our experts at Currency Exchange can help you make the most of your decision to itemize.
Step 3: State Your Status
Once you’ve chosen how you’ll file, now you’ve got to choose who you’ll file as—a single individual or a married couple? The process of filing your taxes changes based on your filing status, so it’s important to take a bit of time to consider which filing status you’ll choose.
These are the five options you’ll be required to choose from:
• Single: You’ll likely file under this status if you don’t fall under the other 4 statuses.
• Married Filing Jointly: If you and your spouse intend to file a joint return, you’ll file under this status.
• Married Filing Separately: If you are your spouse decide to file separately, this status is for you.
• Head of Household: This status fits those single individuals supporting a child or dependent while paying over half of household expenses.
• Qualifying Widow/Widower: If your spouse has passed away, you are eligible to file under this status for the two subsequent years following your spouse’s death.
Step 4: Officially File
You’ve reached the second most satisfying step in filing your taxes (besides receiving your refund): finally filing. If you’ve gathered your documents and planned your course of action, you’re ready to file.
For this step, you’ve got one more important decision to make—do it yourself or let the experts do it for you? If you’re concerned about getting the best refund possible, running close to the deadline of April 15th, or just don’t want to add any more taxes-related work to your plate, finding a trustworthy tax filing service is your best bet.
At Currency Exchange, we make filing your taxes even easier than our 5-step guide. Just bring your documents and information to us and we’ll have our experts chase down the coveted refund for you.
Step 5: Tie Up Loose Tax Ends and Sit Back
You’re officially done with your filing for the year. You can now store all those gathered documents away so that next year’s tax filing process will be even more streamlined. The best way to keep your taxes simple is to prep throughout the year; consider storing away all those documents you’ll eventually need as a favor to your future tax-filing self.
Regardless of how stressful or streamlined filing taxes can be, at Currency Exchange, we’re happy to help take some of the work off your plate while making sure you get the refund you’re hoping for. Find your nearest location to get started today!
With over 350 locations, many open nights, weekends, and holidays (and several stores with 24/7 availability), you can rest easy knowing your financial needs can be taken care of when you need them most. We’re in the heart of every community. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.