Attorney at Law

Guide to Filing Your Federal Taxes

Do you feel overwhelmed at the mere thought of filing your federal taxes? You are not alone. The process of filing taxes can be a source of anxiety for many people. Fortunately, with the right knowledge and preparation, you will be able to navigate the world of taxes with ease. Check out this step-by-step guide on how to file your federal taxes and you’ll be on your way to a stress-free tax season.

1. Collect Your Documents

First things first, it’s time to get organized. Before you begin filing your federal taxes, gathering all the necessary paperwork is crucial. This may include W2 forms from your employers, 1099 forms for freelance work, mortgage interest statements, and receipts for charitable donations and medical or business expenses. It's also important to gather any relevant records such as previous year's federal and state tax forms to help you navigate this year's taxes. If you have decided to enlist the help of a tax professional to file your taxes, you should transfer all necessary documentation to them.

2. Determine if You Need to File

It is crucial to keep in mind that not everyone is required to file a US tax return. Whether or not you need to file depends on multiple factors such as your income, filing status, and age. Review your documentation collected in Step 1 and consult with a professional to help you determine whether you should file. It is also advised to review the IRS guidelines to check if you meet the income threshold for filing a return.

Even if you are not legally required to file a tax return, you may want to consider doing so anyway since you may be entitled to tax refunds.

3. Choose a Filing Method

The IRS provides taxpayers with a few options when it comes to filing federal taxes. You can manually fill out a paper return, use tax preparation software or hire a professional tax preparer or lawyer. While manually filing your taxes is the traditional method, it can be time consuming and complex. While it is typically the most expensive option, enlisting the services of a professional tax preparer can provide you with the reassurance that your tax return is accurate and complete. A tax professional has the expertise and experience necessary to navigate complex tax situations, identify all available deductions and credits, and ensure that your return is in compliance with current tax laws and regulations. 

4. Assess Your Deductions

Determining your tax deductions can significantly reduce your taxable income, which will ultimately lower the amount of taxes you need to pay. Deductions are defined as expenses that the IRS allows you to subtract from your gross income to lessen your taxable income. Common deductions include charitable donations, medical expenses, and state and local tax payments. In order to prove these deductions, you will need to have records of your contributions such as receipts or bank statements.

5. Calculate Your Taxable Income

One of the most essential steps in filing your federal taxes is to determine your taxable income. This amount determines the amount of taxes you owe to the IRS. Your taxable income is generally calculated by starting with your gross income, which is the total amount you earned during the tax year including all wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses. Next, you will need to subtract any allowable deductions and exemptions. You will then arrive at your taxable income, which will be used by the IRS to establish your tax liability.

6. Fill Out Your Tax Return

With all your critical documents in order and a clear understanding of your tax liability, it's time to take the final step and file your federal taxes. At this stage, you will be asked to fill out your personal information, income details and any relevant deductions either online or in a paper return. Make sure that you're including all available deductions and exemptions on your return. 

7. Settle Your Debts

If you owe any federal taxes, it is important that you make sure to pay them before the filing deadline to avoid any penalties. There are plenty of methods available to send money to the IRS such as electronic payments, wire transfers, checks and even cash. If you are unable to pay all of your due taxes, you may want to consider a short-term or long-term IRS payment plan.

8. Review and Submit Your Tax Return

Filing your tax return can be a complicated and daunting process that involves numerous legal terms, calculations, and has significant legal implications. Discrepancies in the document can lead to tax penalties from the IRS, particularly accuracy related penalties. That's why it may be wise to have a professional review your tax return before it is officially submitted. Once you've received the green light from a tax professional, it's time to take the final step and submit your tax return to the IRS. 

Bottom Line

Filing your federal taxes may seem like a burden, but with proper knowledge and guidance, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.If you're seeking professional assistance with your tax returns, don't hesitate to reach out to a specialized attorney. At Attorney At Law, our team of experienced tax lawyers can provide you with the support you need to ensure that your tax returns are filed correctly.

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