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What To Expect And What To Do When Filing A Tax Return For The First Time

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When a taxpayer must file

Various factors determine when one must start paying taxes. Those factors include age, income and filing status, and whether one should file for tax return can be checked through online IRS quiz. Any income exceeding $10,350 for a single person or $20,700 for a married couple must be filed for return or, if person is dependent of another taxpayer, even income as low as $1,050 in unearned income or $6,300 for earned must be filed for tax return.

When a taxpayer should file

Even though, for example, workers aren’t required to file by IRS, everybody should consider filing even though their income may be under the filing threshold. Filing grants earned income tax credit or refund of all taxes. So, even though you may not be required to do so, consider filing anyway over the average of $2,482 income tax credit.

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When to file

Typical deadline for filing individual tax return is April 15, but this year federal tax return for most taxpayers may be extended to April 18, due to April 15 falling on Saturday, and April 17 falls on federal holiday. The same deadline applies for requesting automatic six-month extension to file without late filing penalty. October 15 is Sunday, so the 2017 deadline is October 17.

When to pay

In order to avoid late payment penalties, taxpayer must pay at least 90% of any taxes until April deadline. October deadline extension does not apply to tax payment, but only to filing the return. Therefore keep in mind that April deadline should not be missed, if you are to avoid paying extra penalties.

How to file

There are two ways of dealing with tax filing – DIY or hiring a professional. Do-it-yourself software and online tax programs use appropriate forms and everyday language, to make the entire process easier. However, check the reputation of the program before using it, and chose those with multiple levels of protection. If you chose to hire a professional, chose one by the criteria of education and expertise.

How to fix a mistake

Mistakes discovered after filing are fixable, if filed within three years time-frame from the return original due date. The amended tax return can be filed at any time within the time-frame. For example, mistakes found in 2014 return can be filed at any date, until the April 18 deadline in 2017.

How to make changes for a better outcome next year

First-time filers may discover that they had too much or too little tax withheld, having too big refund or owing too much in 2017. W-4 form completed for the employer should be reviewed, and if necessarily, changed. This form is used by the employer to determine how much income tax to withhold from your income, to cover tax liability. Helpful tool in dealing with W-4 is W-4 calculator.

How to file for free

Most first-time filers need only 1040EZ form, the shortest and the simplest one, applying to all those singe and married filing jointly taxpayers who don`t pay mortgage interest, has no dependents with less than $100,000 earned within last year. Even in case of the most simple 1040EZ form, many people feel more comfortable with the assistance of the professional, making sure that no money is left on the table due to lack of experience.

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