The Ultimate Guide to Doing Your Taxes

Updated August 15, 2016
Man doing taxes on the floor

Forms and Filing

Which version of the 1040 should I use? What's my filing status? And how do I read this W-2? 

Doing your own taxes means navigating a maze of IRS forms and codes, and then getting a handle on the deadlines and filing process. Fortunately, you don't have to do it alone! We'll walk you through the main forms you need to file your taxes... and then make sure you get them in on time.

 

Getting Help: Programs and Preparers

Sure, you can do your taxes yourself, with a pen and paper. But why not hire a professional, or use tax software?

Of course, you don't want to just hire the first accountant you find in the yellow pages, or buy the first piece of tax software you find on the shelf. Our Tax Planning Expert has reviewed dozens of tax programs, including several that are totally free to use. And if you'd rather hire a human being, we'll show you how to find an accountant, what questions you should ask, and how much you can expect to pay.

Getting Every Deduction

If you're not taking advantage of every possible deduction, you're giving money away. But the last thing you want to do is get greedy with your deductions and wind up getting audited by the IRS. 

So it's time to get familiar with the rules. Is that charity you donated to considered a nonprofit for tax purposes? What kinds of medical expenses can you deduct? And if you've got a losing investment, should you cut your losses before year's end and deduct it on your taxes?

Tax Filing for Business Owners

If you own a small business or are self-employed, you do your taxes a lot differently than the typical 9-5er.

Come tax time, you'll have to think about a wholly unique set of deductions for a wide range of business expenses. But tax considerations start from the moment you incorporate your business, as you'll have to make some tough decisions about your business type. While many businesses hire an accountant to help them navigate these decisions, our business tax and accounting experts can provide guidance for those who choose to go it alone.