Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Student's Guide To Filing Taxes

Picture source: Credit Sesame

Oh Tax Season! For us, back in college Tax Season meant extra money for spring break {haha}! But, in all seriousness, Tax Season is that time of the year to get your money back that you overpaid in taxes. Taxes can be super confusion and if you don't use the right tax preparer, like an H&R Block rep or a CPA, then you might lose out on ways where you can get more money back as a student. For example, Co Founder Karen was able to get a substantial amount of money back when she was in school because her Tax Preparer educated her about the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This credit allowed her and other college students to expense their college expenses! You want to come extra prepared when you meet with your Tax Preparer or if you decide to file on your own. Therefore, below are some tools that will be helpful as you prepare for filing your taxes:

  • Decide on who you want to file your taxes. It can be a CPA, an H&R Block representative, or a computer software that can help to file your taxes.
  • Consider if you're a dependent or an independent. If you are a dependent that means that your parents provide more than 50% of financial support for you. If you do support yourself, then you are an independent. This is important because it determines whether or not you or your parents receive some extra money back.
  • Gather all the necessary documents to make the filing process go much easier. Gather these types of documents and forms:
    • All forms that say W-2, 1098, 1099 or Schedule K-1
    • Records of any contributions you made to IRAs or other retirement plans
    • Records for what you paid in mortgage interest,  real estate and personal property tax
    • Closing documents (such as HUD statement) for a home you purchased in 2013
    • Income & expense records for work you performed (not already shown on a W-2 or 1099)
    • Records of other income and expenses (rental income and expenses, jury duty, gambling, hobby, alimony income, etc.)
    • The date you purchased and your total investment in any stocks or other property you sold
    • Expenses related to your investments
    • Amounts donated to houses of worship, schools, or other charitable organizations
    • Records of non cash charitable donations
    • Number of miles you drove for charitable purposes
    • Number of miles you drove for medical purposes, and amounts paid to healthcare (insurance, doctors, dentists, hospitals, etc.)
    • Records for childcare and higher education costs
    • Employment-related expenses (dues, travel, publications, tools, uniforms, uniform cleaning, etc.)
    • Job search expenses and unemployment income, if applicable
    • Records for HSA contributions, alimony paid, moving expenses and student loan interest
                             Source: HRBlock.com

Some of these documents and forms may not be things that apply to you, so to keep yourself on track, consider making your own custom checklist at HRBlock.com/Checklist.

We hope you get some money back!

1 comment :

  1. A form checklist is definitely a must when preparing tax related documents. You wouldn't want to go to a party without the right do and clothes, and it's pretty much the same with forms and tax consultants. And of course, it's always a lot easier if you let someone else do the prepping the books, but it's always good to know the bare bones of filing. BTW, I'm loving the feel and look of you blog, and I'll definitely stick around for more of these sister's secrets!

    Lynn @ OnCoreBookKeeping.ca


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