Helpful Tips for Students Filling Out Their Tax Returns for the First Time
by Alyiah Jackson
It is that time of year! Filing for taxes has finally arrived. For most people, tax preparations is done by someone else but your first experience can be very fun and exciting.
The government collects taxes to pay for goods and services it provides such as schools, roads, law enforcement, libraries, park, military protections, etc. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the nation’s tax collection agency.
The tax you owe to the government is paid through withholding (money that is taken from your paycheck), estimated tax payments, and payments made when the taxes are filed each years. It is very crucial to know when to file your taxes and how to do so.
“I haven’t filed mine because I don’t how to do it and I don’t want to mess it up either,” said senior Alexandra Garcia. It may cause you to be overwhelmed and feel nervous but do not panic, here are some helpful tips to know what information would be beneficial to know as well when you go to file:
First and foremost, you have to have worked some time during the past year to file for taxes. “I thought I could file them until my dad told me no because I got my first job in the beginning of January,” said junior Juan Barrera. If you have worked some time during the past year then you may file them and your first step is to determine your filing status.
Your filing status is used to determine your filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain credit, and your correct tax. The IRS offers five different filing statuses: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or widower. Knowing which status you are will be helpful in knowing how much you qualify in your tax return. For example, most of us are students and are not yet married, so we will be filing the status as single.
Choose a tax form for your current situation. Tax forms are used to assist taxpayers with reporting information to the government like marital statuses, social security number, if you are claiming any dependents (a person who relies on another), income, and any deductions or contributions made during the past year, homeowner, etc. The types of returns are are 1040EZ, 1040A, and a 1040.
What is the difference between a W2 and a tax return? A tax return is a document that is submitted to IRS every April in order to pay federal taxes. It shows how much a person (or married couple) has made during the year and how much he/she may owe. W2’s or Wage Statements show the income a person has made from each employer he/she has had over the past year.
Paper form or E-file? Taxpayers have the choice of filing their taxes by sending in signed paper forms or doing it electronically, when you use an authorized tax preparation software that allows you to enter in the information online. Typically when using an E-file, you are more likely to get your return quicker than mailing it in. “I filed mine on the first [of February] and I have my money already,” said senior Symbria Woodley.
Filing the correct information for your taxes is very important. Preparing yourself will make the experience less nerve-racking and more exciting. Make sure that you talk with your parents and have them guide you if you are having trouble. Over the years when you become comfortable and familiar with filing your taxes, you will have a better understanding of why it is important and knowing that there is nothing wrong with asking for help.