Doing Your Taxes Yourself
Does Doing Your Taxes Yourself Scare You?
There are times when going to a professional tax preparer might be a good idea, but for most individuals, doing your taxes yourself is fairly straight forward. This is especially true now and through 2025. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that was enacted in December 2017, increased the standard deduction that most of us now use.
At the same time the standard deduction was increased, the entire category for Miscellaneous deductions on Schedule A was eliminated. This, in effect, now makes it a lot easier doing your taxes yourself, especially when the standard deduction gets more money back for most people.
Sometimes those who have never filed an online tax return, get scared off simply because they don’t understand the process. The mystery and false sense of complexity vanishes after doing your own taxes for the first time.
We believe once you file personal taxes at EZ Tax, and see just how easy it is, you’ll feel like a seasoned pro. Just by answering a few simple questions that pertain to your financial situation, you’ll find that our program will have all of the forms you need and type of return ready to file. Our flat rate fee of $25 helps too.
Is doing your own taxes too complex for me?
If you have a return that involves a business and maybe a rental property, then yes, you might want to seek a professional rather than doing taxes yourself online. But, most people have a fairly simple tax return that can be done very easy.
A lot of the problem today, that makes filing your own return appear complex, is the onerous tax code that has been changed by politicians for selfish reasons, in many cases. Many believe that it is over 70,000 pages long, and contains so many amendments, no one really fully understands it.
As a practicing accountant and tax preparer for many years, I can say that the average American has a fairly simple tax return. They work and have a W-2, maybe have some bank interest or stock dividends, are buying a home, have medical expenses, real estate taxes, mortgage interest, and donate money to their church or other charities.
I don’t mean to over-simplify this fact, but that’s just the way it is. It also means their tax return is fairly simple too, especially now when many file using the new and higher standard deduction.
If you have enough qualified expenses to itemize, then by all means you should do so. If you do itemize, take into consideration the effect it will have on your state return. Sometimes, the total of your federal itemized deductions will be slightly below the standard amount. You may need to do a calculation to see if the overall tax liability lowered enough.
A professional tax preparer, such as myself, will make this calculation for you. When doing your taxes yourself, make sure to do this. If you happen to be filing taxes when self employed, our program at EZ Tax will guide you through this process of filing a Schedule C.
We teamed up with 1040.com many years ago with our parent company to process all of our online tax returns. They are one of the best, if not the best, in handling this online tax filing. Over the past 10 years alone, they have processed over 150 million tax returns.
With our team concept at EZ Tax/1040.com, any help that you may need, or if you just want to ask a question, there is USA based and trained support available by email or chat.
If doing your taxes yourself, will you get audited?
Just by doing your taxes yourself doesn’t mean you’re more likely to have your return pulled for an audit. The IRS has built-in triggers in their software program that will flag your return for a hand-check if you hit one of them. These triggers are a highly guarded secret, but as an example, say you show charitable contributions for $10,000 and your income is $50,000, then it could trigger it.
So, just the fact that you did your taxes yourself or had a professional prepare them, doesn’t change anything. Makes me wonder too, if one of the IRS triggers could be the Tax ID of an unscrupulous tax preparer?
How do I know if I have to file?
It’s true, there are some people who don’t have enough income to file a tax return, but not very many. Usually most of the non-filers are retired senior citizens. As an example, if you’re single and over 65, you don’t have to file a return until your income exceeds $14,050. If married, both spouses over 65, you don’t have to file until your income exceeds $27,400.
There are times though, when you must file even if your income is below the minimum filing threshold. For instance, if you have a side hustle and your self employment income is $400 or higher, you must file.
If you’re eligible for certain tax credits, you should file a return too. You may have earned income on a W-2 form that is below the threshold, and the employer withheld federal and/or state income taxes. If you don’t file, you will never get those withheld taxes. The IRS won’t let you know you need to file to get them back.
When you’re answering the easy questions with the EZ Tax/1040.com program, we have you covered. It doesn’t matter how simple or complex your return is, you can be sure doing your taxes yourself with us will get you the biggest refund based on your financial situation.