One of the most stressful times of the year for families is back to school time. Unfortunately, for many families, the stress of that time of the year pales in comparison to the stress of preparing the family taxes come tax time, especially if children are also filing. Since you’ve done your taxes before, you know about the stress and insanity doing so can cause, especially if you have to file anything other than a 1040 EZ form in April.
There are however, much better solutions than attempting to prepare and file your family’s taxes yourself – online tax preparation. This point and click solution is simple, fast and, most of all, practically stress free.
This is your brain…
To take advantage of online tax prep services, all you have to do if create an account, answer some questions, and let the software do the calculations for you. If you are one of those people who has an aversion to using a computer, think about your other options:
- Filing for an extension, but you would only be pushing off the inevitable stress.
- Filing by hand includes preparing and collecting the paperwork, figuring out what you are supposed to put where and on which line of which form, figuring out which deductions and credits you can take, calculating everything, and then filing.
If you think this process is enough to make you want to pull your hair out, know that you are not alone. In fact, while there are some people out there who somehow find that they love the math involved when preparing taxes for an entire family, most do not. Is this worth the tradeoff?
This is your brain on taxes…
According to the Internal Revenue Service, filling out a 1040 EZ is supposed to be easy, and in most cases it is, but these forms are meant for individuals with no dependents or itemizations. Anyone who files and has more than one income source, itemizes deductions and charitable contributions, and lists dependents must use the 1040 long form.
An example is if your child worked last year for the first time and needs to do his or he taxes. He or she may qualify to use the 1040 EZ, but that child’s parents cannot. They have to use the long form to claim that child as a dependent, and possibly his or her income as their own if they are under 18. While rules vary from situation to situation, chances are that the long form is a requirement in this situation.
The long form is also required if the parent is married filing married, single filing jointly, or married filing jointly. Additionally, anyone itemizing deductions, filing self-employment taxes, filing taxes for an LLC or other business taxes, or receiving certain tax credits must also use the long form, plus some additional schedules such as the SE, C, or EIC, for example.
There is no question that using an online service is a better option. Instead of climbing through the hair pulling clutter to file your stress inducing tax forms by the due date, using an online service lets you file taxes without breaking a sweat.
The IRS estimates that filling out the 1040 EZ is going to take no more than 10 minutes if you have your receipts and wage statements handy and organized – imagine how fast your child could get this done if he or she used the online software instead of having you do it by hand.
You still need the wage forms and receipts, but because you’ll be under less stress, you’ll be able to think clearly so you can organize everything you need. So go online, answer the questions, and file your taxes quickly, quietly, and stress free so you can save your hair pulling for back-to-school season instead.