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Best Ways to Prepare Your Taxes

by Bruce Haring

Tax planning is an important part of managing your finances, whether you are a business owner or not. Paperwork accumulates throughout the year and some times, these receipts, financial documents, and bills are scattered everywhere. It is important to keep these receipts safe and organized. Preparing your taxes can be a tedious task but you can do it with a few excellent resources designed to help you with them.

It is always a judicious idea to sit down with an experienced pro who specializes in taxes, but there are also excellent resources that can help you prepare your taxes. Here is a look at them:

Free Online IRS Help

Before hiring a tax preparer or accountant, it is an astute idea to check out some of the resources that are available online. These are free resources that you can get directly from the IRS. As a taxpayer, you can file your returns online and if there is any information you need, you can find it through its online portals. You can file your returns online for free and attain answers to specific questions from its Interactive Tax Assistant.

There is also a withholding calculator that you can use to make sure you withhold an appropriate tax amount with each paycheck.

IRS Free Preparation for Tax Returns

If your earnings are $54,000 or less, English is not your native tongue or you are disabled, there are IRS-certified volunteers who can help you with tax preparation. All you need to do is call a number in your area for the Volunteer Income Tax Program (VITA) which offers free services for tax preparation. You may find volunteers available at shopping malls, libraries, and schools for personal help during tax season.

The tax code is so complicated, this is necessary for some people. If America had a flat tax this would not be necessary but that is another topic.

Free Online Software for Tax Preparation

There are many free online software for tax services available these days. Programs such as H7R Block Free Edition, TaxAct Free Federal Edition, and TurboTax Federal Free Edition are excellent since they help you with each step of the filing process. Calculations will then be run by the program and your tax filing forms will be filled out in no time. All you need to do is print the return out and send it to the IRS.

Tax Advice

Thousands of tax gurus and personal finance bloggers offer advice and tips about how to prepare taxes. But turning to the IRS blog and other authoritative sources like blogs from legitimate CPAs or tax preparers in your state or city is a much better idea. You can obtain valuable information when you have specific questions related to your tax returns, tax filing deadlines, and what you can write off. You can also seek the help of a law firm since there are some that can give you legal advice on matters related to tax.

State Department of Revenue in Your Area

Your state’s Department of Revenue website is a prolific place to go to when you need information regarding tax return filing dates in your state, the requirements and forms, which you can download online. You will also find information regarding various tax preparation events and sites as well as where you can find free legal help and volunteer tax assistance for filing taxes in your state. Some states even offer free services with live chat if all you need is a link to resources and so on.

Free Tax Clinics

There are some libraries and local law schools that offer free tax clinics. You need to be eligible to utilize these services. For instance, law schools organize tax clinic events for those with low income to help with collection issues, audit representation, and other complicated situations that can arise in the weeks before tax day.

It is a smart idea to register for a workshop or clinic so that you can get legal advice and learn accurate tax filing methods without paying large sums of money to professionals. These clinics are a magnificent place to learn how to prepare taxes on your own when the next tax season comes around.

Tax preparation is important when tax day approaches. As mentioned, it is a year-long process, but there are ways to make sure that you have everything ready when the actual day comes with the help of a few excellent free resources. In this recession, anything that is free must be exploited. Save money and check out these tax preparation resources to receive the best help and the most accurate help.


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