Filing Your Own Taxes: Fig's 2020 Guide

Posted on: 08 May 2020


Everyone remembers the first time they had to file their own taxes- it’s terrifying, but most of us do not want to pay for an accountant to file for us. In this Fig blog writer’s experience, my older sister’s friend told me that she used TurboTax! I heeded my elder’s advice and filed online with TurboTax. I found the process pretty painless, even though I ended up owing state taxes at the end. In the years since, I have continued to file my own taxes, and I encourage everyone to try self-filing at least once.

We at Fig believe in financial empowerment, and doing and understanding your taxes will enable you to make more informed choices about your withholding settings and other financial decisions. Because the deadline for filing your taxes has been extended this year, you have a couple of months to practice. Read on for tips on how to file your taxes without fear!

If you’re going to file your taxes yourself (and you should, unless you have lots of complicated investments and a personal accountant that you trust), I highly recommend filing online. Lots of companies make software for e-filing with confidence. I am not (sadly) paid by any tax filing software companies, and if I recommend TurboTax, it’s because I’ve used it for a few years and never had any issues. I use their Deluxe product, which costs $60 to start, with state filing at an additional cost, and find it a good value. Mostly, I like how educational TurboTax is. It’s an easy-to-use website that has helped me learn a lot more about filing taxes, what deductions I can claim, and so on.

One important thing to note is that if you make under $69,000 or less a year, you can file for free with certain companies, including H&R Block. For more on filing for free, check out IRS Free File.

Once you decide on which tool to use, they’ll tell you which forms you need to have, but it’s pretty standard. You’ll want to have your W-2 if you’re a regular employee. Using multiple W-2s is fine, for example, if you have multiple jobs or if you changed jobs midway through the tax year. If you’re self-employed or an independent contractor, you’ll need your 1099. My roommate ran into the limitations of filing for free because she has both a W-2 and a 1099, as she has a salaried job and does freelance writing work (she’s a boss). You may also find that these tools aren’t right for you if you have lots of additional sources of income, such as sales of stocks, own rental properties, or anything unusual like that.

For the majority of us, however, I recommend using the free or next-to-free option from any of the big tax filing software companies, taking the standard deduction, and using your anticipated return to pay for the use of the software. It is the most painless way to do it, and I have never had trouble with the IRS after using e-file software.

If, however, you want to get more creative, you can always experiment with itemized deductions. One nice TurboTax feature, which I expect H&R Block and TaxAct also have, is that they’ll walk you through what deductions you can claim, and then advise you on whether you’d be better off just claiming the standard deduction.

Bottom line: you can do it! There is no need to fear the tax process, as the internet has so many resources, and e-filing has never been easier or more affordable. We’d love to hear what tax filing software you prefer, your own tips for self-filing, or even what scares you about doing your own taxes! As always, we’re available for questions and comments at service@figloans.com, Facebook, Instagram,and Twitter. Happy tax season, y’all!

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