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- I was able to file my taxes for free without any paper using software and documents online.
- I waited until April to file last year, but I’m going to be more proactive with my taxes this year.
- I didn’t get a very big refund last year, but I learned that taxes don’t have to be intimidating.
I started my first job in late 2021, and I had to do my taxes for the first time last year. Taxes can be really hard, and I know they’re definitely not anyone’s favorite, but I found they don’t have to be a pain in the neck. Even though this was my first time doing taxes, I felt it was fairly simple. I just had to know what to do.
The last day you have to file your taxes in 2023 is April 18, but you can start working on them months in advance. I waited until April last year, and it just added a bunch of unnecessary stress. One of the first things I did was gather all of my documents. I made sure to get my W-2 form from my employer. A W-2 form basically just shows important information about the money that you’ve earned this year, such as how much you earned that year, the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck, and some relevant benefits information.
I kept myself organized during tax season by accessing my documents online instead of through the mail. That way I didn’t have a bunch of papers to keep track of. I was able to access all of my important documents right on my phone.
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How I filed my taxes
There’s a lot of ways to do your taxes. You can fill out the forms manually, but I decided to use a website. There are lots of websites and plenty of free tax software to consider — I decided to use the Simply Free version of TaxSlayer. TaxSlayer was free for filing my federal and state returns, and it helped me when I didn’t know what I was doing. My parents helped a lot, and it was definitely a learning experience for me.
TaxSlayer filed my federal and my state taxes for me, but didn’t file my city taxes. In my city, you don’t have to file a tax return if you’re under 18. Since I didn’t owe any city taxes and I wasn’t going to get a refund, I decided not to bother filing a city tax return. But if you need to file a city tax return you’ll need to pay extra, use a different program, or do it yourself. My city, like many other cities, will file your city tax return for you for free. That’s something that I’ll be taking advantage of when I need to file a city tax return.
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Getting my refund
After a couple weeks, my refund came in the mail. It was only $8, because I didn’t work a lot that year. Because it was so small, I just put it in my investment account. Some people get money taken out of their paycheck for taxes; at the end of the year, you have to file your tax return to figure out if you owe more money or if you’ll get a refund.
It’s a good idea to try not to get too big of a refund, because that means that you’re giving the government an interest-free loan all year. Because my income is still so low, I don’t get any money withheld from my paycheck for federal taxes, but I do still have some money taken out for state taxes, Social Security, and Medicare.
The main thing I’m going to do differently this year is not wait till April to file my taxes, because I know I’m going to get a refund. I’d rather do it sooner so I can get my money faster and make it work for me. I’m planning to use TaxSlayer again because it worked so well last year. Because I already have an account, it should pre-populate some of my information, which should make things even easier. I’m glad I know now that taxes don’t have to be scary!