How to File Your First Income Tax Return

You should not have fear when the time comes to file your first tax return. First time filers typically have a simple form to fill out, and this usually only takes a few minutes with most online tax preparation services. Take a deep breath and make sure your mind is focused before you begin.IncomeTaxScrabblePic

Gather Tax Forms

Your employer must postmark your W-2 or 1099 by January 31st of any given year. If you do not receive your W-2s by then, contact them immediately. Make sure they have your correct mailing address. Ensure that their employer tax identification numbers are included in the appropriate boxes.

Complete Deduction Worksheets

Even as a young individual, you may qualify for deductions. If you are in college or are a young parent, there are credits and deductions that you may be eligible for. Use the available worksheets to determine if you can take the credits.

Online preparation services will tell you immediately if you are eligible or not.

Double Check Information

Before you submit your first tax return you should double check every piece of information you’ve put down. Go back through each page and make sure that all of the numbers entered are correct. Read all of the additional questions asked and the answers to ensure that they are correct. This prevents tax return denial and reduces the likelihood of an audit.

Bottom Line

Take your time with your first return. There is no rush. Just make sure that your return is submitted, or at least postmarked, by the tax filing deadline. The deadline to file taxes in 2016 is April 18th instead of the typical April 15th date.

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About the author

Seattle CPA+John Huddleston has written extensively on tax related subjects of interest to small business owners. He is a graduate of Washington State University and the University of Washington School of Law.

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