Duchess Digest: Simple Steps for Single Women’s 2012 Taxes
By Jill Brown
It’s February. And that means it’s time to file your taxes. “What?” I hear you asking, “file my taxes? Everyone knows April is tax month.” No, April is the deadline. Take a tip out of the Duchess Guide to getting organized and file your taxes this month. All required tax filing forms had to be postmarked before January 31st by law; so you either have them all by now, or will shortly! No time like the present to start.
Why file now?
- Chances are good if you’re a single woman, especially if you’re a single mom, you’ve got a refund coming your way – that’s YOUR money; claim it!
- If you get through your tax forms and find out the unpleasant news that you owe taxes, going through your filing process now will give you a few months to help set aside the cash to pay the IRS by April 15th. Better to know now then on the night of the 14th and have to scramble, or dip into your savings!
- If you are entitled to a refund, the IRS and your state government process on a first come, first serve basis. Filing now mean’s you’re the next caller on the line, instead of the one at the bottom of the stack in April with a huge wait time to get your own money back!
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to see things my way. But…
Where do you start?
1. Get all your tax forms in a pile. The most common are:
- Form W2 (this comes from any employer in 2012),
- Form 1098 (there are several versions, most common are mortgage interest expense [this one comes from the mortgage company] and student loan interest expense [this comes from your student loan provider]),
- Form 1099 (there are several versions, but this form is related to your 401K plan interest and/or withdrawals in 2012)
2. Consider some questions. Other things you may need before you start are:
- Did you move this year to start a new job (or work relocations)? You may be able to write off your moving expenses – so keep them handy. I moved to Alaska from Los Angeles this year; so this was a huge plus for me!
- Did you buy a home for the first time this year? There are 1st time home buyer credits!
- Did you have any large medical expenses? If your out-of-pocket medical expenses exceed 7.5% of you adjusted pay – you can write off a deduction.
- Does your state allow renters deductions? Some states like California allows certain rent deductions under certain parameters… It’s worth a shot!
3. How to File?
- Now that you have all of your forms gathered and handy, I highly recommend that if you don’t have an accountant, you use Turbo Tax. I have used them for the past five years (online subscription version) and I love them. They offer:
- Easy, step-by-step guides to what you can and can’t write off. And the federal filing version is only $30 (there’s an additional fee for state filing).
- Online Filing. The great thing about doing it online is it’s affordable, fast and pretty idiot-proof (see earlier comment about me filing my own taxes this way for the last five years!). Also, they have all your tax info stored under your login account so when you have to file next year, bam! It’s all there again if you need to reference it. And e-filing means no postage, no trip to the post office and no certified mail handling. It goes, and you know it’s been received.
- Direct Deposit. The final awesome thing is that you can get your refund electronically! This is a huge save of time and worth the fee (to me). This also means your refund is direct deposited into your account when it’s processed. No waiting for the check in the mail or going to the bank to deposit it!
My guess is if you’re like most people, at least one of your New Year’s Resolutions is financial. Your money, all money, is energy just like everything else. You should respect your money. Keep it organized, respect it with your time and focused attention, and be a financially savvy woman. It’s just a smart way to be and think. If you have time for Valentine’s Day this month, or a long President’s Day weekend, you can take the time to show your money some love and get it organized. Filing your taxes is a great step!
P.S. Here’s another simple tip for single women from the Duchess Guide; if you’re entitled to a refund, have it auto deposited into your savings or I.R.A. account directly. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s a simple step to saving!
Jill Brown is an Anchorage, Alaska based writer and blogger. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to sharing the ups and downs of life in Alaska. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: http://theduchessguide.com/
More Duchess Digests from SingleMindedWomen.com