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How to Do Your Taxes? A Step-by-Step Guide

Filing your taxes might seem tricky, but don’t worry! You can break down how to do your taxes into steps and avoid common mistakes while finding ways to save money.

Just take it one step at a time, and you’ll handle tax season like a pro!

1. Identify Whether or Not You Need to File

Here’s a simple list of documents you might need on how to do your taxes.

1. W-2s.

2. 1099s.

3. Mortgage interest statements.

4. Investment income statements.

5. Charitable contribution statements and receipts.

If you had big life changes like getting married or moving, you might need extra papers. Check for these:

1. Form 8822 (for address changes).

2. SS-5 (if your name changed).

3.W-4 (to adjust tax withholdings).

By the end of January, you should get income and investment interest forms in the mail or online. Keep an eye out! You can also find them through your bank, mortgage provider, or payroll company.

Additionally, if you started a small business this year, you need to remember that income is taxable. Look for these 1099 forms:

1. 1099-K: Shows payments from electronic systems like Venmo.

2. 1099-NEC: Displays earnings as an independent contractor.

3. 1099-MISC: Records miscellaneous income outside W-2s or 1099s.

If you’re missing any documents, call to make sure you get them on time. Don’t stress about forgetting something—hire professionals to help you stay on top of everything!

2. Collect Your Tax Documents

Whether you’re getting help from a tax pro or doing it yourself, you need to gather some important stuff. Here’s a quick checklist:

1. Personal and dependent social security numbers.

2. W-2 form(s) showing how much you earned and paid in taxes last year.

3. 1099 forms if someone other than your boss gave you money.

4. Info on what you put into your retirement account.

5. Papers about property taxes and mortgage interest.

6. Records of charitable donations.

7. Any state and local taxes you paid.

8. Bills for school expenses.

9. Medical bills not covered by insurance.

10. Your tax returns from last year.

This checklist will help you gather the right documents for tax time!

3. Select a Filing Status 

Your filing status is like picking a tax category, and it decides a variety of important things—like how much you owe in taxes, what deductions you get, and if you qualify for certain credits.

Here are the five types you can choose from:

SingleEasy if you're not married or separated. If your spouse passed away, you'll probably use this too.
Married filing jointlyIf you're married and both agree, this is usually the best way to save money on taxes.
Married filing separatelyIf you're married but want to handle your taxes on your own, or if it saves you more money, go for this.
Head of householdA bit tricky. You need to pay over half of the household expenses, be unmarried, and have a kid or dependent. Good for single parents or those taking care of family.
Qualifying widow(er)If your spouse passed away and you didn't remarry that year, you can still file jointly for up to two years. But you need to be unmarried and live with a dependent.

Filing your taxes might seem tricky, but don’t worry! You can break down how to do your taxes into steps and avoid common mistakes while finding ways to save money.

4. Submit Your Taxes Before the Deadline

Getting your taxes done on time is important to avoid extra fees. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Collect Your Papers: Gather all your money papers—like what you earned and receipts for things you want to deduct.

2. Know Your Income: Figure out your adjusted gross income. It helps decide how much you owe or get back.

3. Go Electronic: Many people use computers to file taxes. It’s fast and gets your refund quicker.

4. Be Careful: Check your taxes before sending them. Mistakes can slow things down or even make you answer more questions.

5. Ask for Help if Needed: If you’re not sure, get a tax expert. They can make sure everything is right and help you if things are a bit tricky.

 Just get it done on time, and you’re good to go!


Tax season might seem a bit daunting, but don’t worry – it’s not as tough as it looks. Follow these tips on how to do your taxes and manage the 2024 tax season smoothly. Remember, RLN US is here to help whenever you need some tax advice.


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