5 Simple Tax Tips for First-Time Filers

These tips will make your first time filing taxes painless.

Filing taxes for the first time can be a real rite of passage. It can also be a very daunting task, with your tax return seeming to present pitfalls and potential mistakes that could trigger an audit around every corner. The good news is that almost everyone in America has filed tax returns at one time or another, most doing so every year. With a little knowledge and some handy pointers, you too can file an accurate, on-time tax return that won’t garner any unwanted attention from the IRS.

So, here are five practical, simple tips that should make your tax-filing experience painless.

1. Learn Your Forms

Know which forms to use and make sure the information on your taxes match what the IRS has.

2. Know Your Due Dates

Be well aware of when you should receive forms from employers and, most importantly, don’t forget that you have to file by April 15.

3. Check Your Calendar

Make sure you’ve received your W-2 and/or 1099-MISC form by early February to give you time to finish by the filing deadline.

4. Double-Check Your Math

The worst way to cause issues with your return would be a simple arithmetic error. Recheck your calculations to ensure it doesn’t happen.

5. Keep Accurate Records

Having records on your expenses and income handy should smooth over the whole process.

Up Next: Know Before You File: Tax Breaks for 2018