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If you’re a lazy procrastinating turd, then you probably haven’t done your taxes yet, which are due tomorrow. Normally, I’m a big fan of procrastinating, but when it comes to the government, it’s best not to mess around. I’m a CPA that works at a semi-reputable firm, so I know enough about them to feel comfortable filing my own, and am writing this column to share some knowledge with the rest of you.
DISCLAIMER: This is not intended to be tax advice, and you’re a dumbass if you actually use it as advice without first consulting your tax professional.
First things first: it’s obviously bad to have to pay taxes when you file. But even worse is getting a refund. I know you’re thinking to yourself, “But I’m ignorant! Rabble rabble rabble money good!” Let me put it this way: would you go to your favorite brunch spot and pay $150 on a $35 tab just so you’ll get your $115 back with no interest next year? No, because that would be dumb. If you are consistently getting refunds of over $500, I would suggest that you walk your financially illiterate ass to the HR department and change your W-4 (the form that you filled out to say how many dependents/exemptions you have). Yes, it’s only an extra $10 a week, but thats a burrito’s worth of money, and this way you can actually afford guac.
Chances are, you don’t really need an accountant or tax professional to do your taxes. You just recently graduated from college, so unless mommy and daddy set you up with a trust fund, you probably just have a W-2. Filing with just a W-2 is literally the easiest thing you can do. You are simply filling out your name, DOB, SSN, address, and then the easily numbered and identified info on the W-2…and then you’re done. If you can’t handle that, feel free to send me an email with all of that information, along with your banking information, because I know a Nigerian prince who is looking to send some money to the USA soon.
Along with the above point, you don’t really need to buy tax software. The government allows free filing on the IRS website if you are below are certain AGI, so take advantage of that. I’m feeling generous, so here is the website. Now, you may have to find something for your own state/city, but that’ll at least get you halfway there. This is the way I did my taxes, along with my brother’s taxes, and I was pretty buzzed when doing so. Tax software basically holds your hand the entire time, and can detect if you made a mistake somewhere, so it’s (mostly) foolproof.
If you are in the minority of the people on this site that have more than a W-2 and maybe a few 1099s, make sure you keep records. Maybe you own a house, so print off your mortgage statement, real estate tax payments, etc. Also, don’t get greedy. Yeah, you can probably get away with claiming $1,000 worth of charitable contributions when you only made $100, but when you pull the string too hard, the whole sweater untangles. That’s also called fraud, which is illegal.
Last point: if you are confused, use Google. It’s seriously the first place I look if I’m unsure about anything tax related. If you’re completely lost, go to a professional. That’s what they’re paid for. They know what they’re doing, and, in the case of a CPA, actually serve as a safety net. The important thing is to actually get your taxes filed, otherwise there are penalties, fees, and interest. Don’t forget, the IRS brought down Capone. .
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