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How I Made Quick Work of My Taxes

I’ve done my taxes! Gotta admit… I’m pretty proud of myself. Getting them done early is quite a challenge for me, as I tend to procrastinate, and taxes have just been really hard the last few years. I get it, most people use TurboTax, and it’s done in a few hours, but that’s just not an option for me. It hasn’t been me since I was eighteen or something. Now, both my husband and I own businesses (so automatically add Schedule C and SE for both of us, plus Form 8829 for using part of our home for business purposes, blah blah blah), are homeowners, and have gotten grants for schooling and such. It makes for a LOT of paperwork. This year was a little better. No big surprises (last year I found out that I’d done a government grant wrong, and s0 I went back and rectified it, which made me owe them a whole lot of moolah and gave me a whole lot of trouble), no new home, no more schooling, and sadly, no baby still. Plus, last year, as I was figuring out how to navigate freefilefillableforms.com and do everything myself, I wrote down the process. If I made a mistake, I wrote down new steps to ensure it didn’t happen again, and when I finished, I refined the instructions to make it as easy as possible for future years. Well, it worked. This year instead of staring at our many W-2 and 1099s and last years taxes and wondering where to start, I pulled out my handy to do list and got right to it!

So I got a cream soda, a comfy blanket (it’s a Hunger Games blanket, just so you know), and sat down for six hours and plunked away at my keyboard. Luckily for me, my sister is a CPA and tax extraordinaire, so by the end of it, I was sure I had done everything correctly. It was a good feeling.

My list is really really basic, and not at all impressive, and of course there were a few more bullet points that had to do with my specific needs, but I thought this might possibly benefit someone, somewhere, so in case it does, here’s my step by step list. Enjoy!

How to do taxes:

1)   Get together all tax documents (1099, W-2, Giving Statements, Tuition information, home loan information-1098, last year’s taxes, etc)

2)   Figure out what forms I need (1040, Schedule C for both businesses, Schedule SE for both businesses, form 8829 for business use of home, etc)

3)   Put in W2 info on www.freefilefillableforms.com first.

4)   Username: ___________ Password: ____________

5)   Figure out my income and expenses for SMP (Sarah-Marie Photography) last year and fill out schedule C first and then SE for my business, than do the same for Jason’s business.

6) Fill out 1040 with the information from the Schedule C and SE, and complete it.

7)   Get last year’s tax information out and see what other forms I have used, to make sure I’ve gotten everything. Also compare lines in last year’s taxes to check and see if everything looks right. Make sure you do line 44 on the 1040 before you get excited!!! You need the Tax Table.

8)   Take the standard deduction on the 1040 to save a whole lot of computations. We definitely don’t give more than $12k a year. This is where all your church tithes and donations paperwork would come into play, but now I don’t need to do anything with it unless it’s more than the standard deduction.

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