In case it's your first year filing or if you just need a refresher on what documents to have handy, keep reading for answers to all your pressing questions.

By Grace Gavilanes
April 02, 2018 01:31 PM
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With Tax Day approaching, plenty of Americans are rushing to gather their materials to file their taxes before the annual April 17 deadline.

In case it’s your first year filing or if you just need a refresher on what documents to have handy, keep reading for answers to all your pressing questions.

When Is Tax Day?

Tax Day is the day individual income taxes are due to the federal government. Normally, Tax Day falls on April 15, but this year, it falls on Tuesday, April 17. Why? Tax Day historically lands on a non-holiday work day. In 2018, April 15 lands on a Sunday, with the day after being Emancipation Day, a holiday.

What Documents Do I Need?

You’ll need W-2 forms from all the employers you worked for during the year you’re filing for. If applicable, you’ll also need 1099 forms (for any freelance/contract work), business income, unemployment income, social security and any other miscellaneous income info.

Where Can I File?

If meeting with an accountant or making an appointment at your local H&R Block isn’t your style, consider filing your taxes yourself using an online service like Turbo Tax or Tax Act, which take users through the whole process every step of the way. Beginner services are usually free, but if you’re looking for more in-depth info — like accessing previous years’ taxes or chatting with a live CPA (certified public accountant) — purchasing a premium version of these services may be a better option for you.

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What Does It Mean to Claim Deductions?

For some people with added service costs throughout the year, a tax deduction/discount is available. This, of course, is limited to those with costs in the following areas, which can be listed when filing: education, childcare, adoption, charitable contributions/donations, casualty and left losses, qualified business expenses, medical expenses and job and moving expenses.

When Can I Expect My Tax Refund?

Tax refunds are processed about 21 days after filing your taxes.

How Will I Receive My Tax Refund?

You can either request your refund in a check or opt for direct deposit. If you prefer the latter, you’ll need your social security card, your bank account number and your bank’s routing number to begin the transfer.

What If I Can’t File My Taxes On Time?

You can always e-file for an extension. Sound too good to be true? It kind of is, considering this option is only really offered to those earning less than $66,000 per year and doesn’t get you out of paying any taxes you owe. This option just gives you time to fill out tax forms.

What If I’m Unable to Pay the Taxes I Owe?

You can apply for a payment plan directly through the IRS. But it will cost you to set one up if you’re unable to pay those taxes within 120 days.