How to Prepare Taxes in Tucson, Arizona for 2019
Many people have expressed interest in a guide on how to prepare their taxes and avoid common mistakes, so this article will give you a brief overview of how to do it, as well as suggest an alternative if you would like to get professional assistance with the whole ordeal. From start to finish, we will go over the necessary information, forms, electronic ways of preparing and filing taxes, and, if you would like, you can use this article as your checklist when filing taxes for the year 2019. Keep in mind there are many ways to save on tax and get returns, and to go over them wouldn’t be possible in just 1 article. We advise seeking professional help from an IRS certified Tax pro in Tucson to secure your taxes in the most optimal way.
Preparing and filing taxes can overwhelm many people. It’s an inevitable chore that everyone has to go through, but unfortunately, it requires a bit of financial knowledge and tax literacy. Taxes in the United States are, in some ways, more complicated than for most of the world’s population. They are levied on multiple government levels, and on income, property, capital gains, sales, gifts, and many other personal gains.
In April of every year, taxes for the previous year are being filed, and it’s necessary to prepare them by this time. To have everything ready and submitted in time, you should make sure to start preparing early and keep the right track of your financial situation year-round and keep receipts as well. You will need some understanding of personal finance to do this, and having previous experience with the specific forms required is highly beneficial.
According to the Arizona Department of Revenue, you need to file taxes if your gross income is above $15,000 annually. Their website will also provide you with downloads to all necessary forms, and allows filing taxes fully electronically at no extra cost.
First of all, let’s assess how complicated your tax situation is
If your income comes from your employer, the standard deduction will be enough, given you hadn’t experienced significant changes in your life (marriage, children, healthcare procedure), which you can file with the 1040 form. In this simple scenario, you generally won’t need any software assistance, and doing it the old-fashioned way will be easy enough.
Complications arise when you need to fill out supplemental forms and schedules with your 1040 form. This can be an excellent time to try out tax software. Taxes that involve multiple businesses, extensive itemizing, and fundamental life changes (divorce, for example), will often require professional guidance. Many tax software platforms market themselves as a solution to situations as complicated as this, but we believe that at some point, hiring an actual tax pro is a necessity.
Generally, taking out a couple of days out of your schedule will be good practice for filing your taxes, and filling out the 1040 forms can take the whole day. Statistics say that the average taxpayer spends 11 hours filling out their 1040s. If you run a business or have side gigs, you will need up to a week to get everything done.
Expenses associated with tax preparation
If you’re doing everything the old-fashioned pen and paper way, it will basically be completely free, but you will sacrifice the most time this way. If you decide to go with basic software options, expect to spend 30 to 50 dollars for preparation and electronic filing.
Some advanced software, such as that for itemizing, filing taxes for multiple states, or just having a pretty complicated financial situation, will run you a bit more. Upgrading to advanced software can run you over $100 or more, and understandably, prices sometimes rise in the march and April months s tax filing deadlines approach.
There are, however, free options when it comes to software. Many software providers offer free plans, but these work in the most basic ways and are less likely to be up to date with the latest regulations, user interface options, and support.
There is another free option if your income is below $66,000 per household, and that is the so-called VITA program, the IRS’s filing program available in Arizona that matches taxpayers with approved and certified Tucson tax preparation volunteers. This is again an excellent option for essential to stressful situations, but relying on entry-level volunteer work can only go so far. If you are looking to get the most money out of your tax statements, hiring a professional can net you a nice benefit, given they save you several hundred dollars in returns. Statistics say that about 60% of taxpayers commission paid preparers to file their taxes.
Professional tax preparation service usually runs for two to three hundred dollars (half of that without itemizing) and involves itemized 1040 forms, schedules, and state tax returns.
Picking the right professional can seem a bit daunting, as many feel they will be kept mostly out of the loop and won’t have control over their tax decisions. IRS looks at your tax return as your own responsibility, so choosing the right person for the job can be stressful.
Hiring a reputable tax preparer should be your priority, not your budget. A skilled service will always net you a benefit, either a financial one or will straight up saving you time and energy you would have wasted on a week-long hassle. Responsible preparers will look out for your best interests and will keep you fully informed during the process. Some Arizona tax preparers will offer you free service if, during the audit, it becomes clear that you can save a lot of money on returns. They will usually keep a percentage of the salary as compensation, but with this business model, you can be sure they will put in the most effort.
Hopefully, this article has helped you get a better grasp of filing your returns. If you feel you are ready, take the first step right now and don’t wait for April to prepare. There’s still plenty of time to experiment with the free options, but if you decide to spend some money, we advise reaching out to multiple preparers or checking out different software options to find one that’s best for you. Remember to be conscientious with your finances, and you will never have to go through the stress of being late for taxes or paying additional fees.