Filing your taxes is a must if you meet the gross income requirements. If it’s your first time filing, know that you have resources available to help you, and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are some steps to help you get started.*
- Head to IRS.gov as your first stop. We’ve detailed some of their tools below, but it’s only a start.
- Whether or not you need to file a tax return depends on your gross income and if your parents claim you as a dependent. One way to determine if you need to file is to use the tool on the IRS website. You’ll also want to ask your parents if they plan to claim you as a dependent on their taxes.
- Before you begin filing, you’ll want to have the following items handy.
- Social Security number.
- Your W-2, Form 1099 or other wage and income information.
- Record of your tax credit and deductions. These could be interest you’ve earned on savings or investments or interest you’ve paid on student loans. In some cases, it could even be scholarships or grants you’ve received for school.
- Your prior year adjusted gross income amount. If it’s your first time filing, this number may be zero.
- Bank account information. Set up for direct deposit so you get any refund more quickly.
- The federal and state handbooks are also helpful to have.
- Visit IRS.gov/freefile to file for free.
- File by the April deadline and keep a copy of your documentation and tax paperwork for three to seven years.
If you have questions while filing your taxes, there are volunteers available to help you at no cost through the IRS website. You can also contact an accountant or tax professional to assist you in preparing your taxes. The cost of their services will vary, but some people find it reassuring to have a professional assisting them.
* Note that this is informational material only and is not meant to be legal or tax advice. Consult an accountant or financial professional before making financial decisions.