How to Make Sure You Get What’s Coming to You at Tax Time

January 15, 2008

Whenever tax time rolls around, I still see my mother sitting at the kitchen table with all sorts of forms, receipts, and scraps of paper in piles encircling her. She was the mathematician in the family. If my dad had done the taxes, he probably would have tried to deduct something that wasn’t allowed. So, it became Mom’s job.

When I grew up, and was on my own for the first time, I started doing my own taxes. After all, if Mom did it all those years, I certainly could. Then, when I got married, I never understood why my husband always took it to a tax preparer. Why pay someone, when you can do it yourself and save money? At the time, our taxes were so simple, because we did not own a home or have any special deductions. But, that is the way his parents always handled it. So, who am I to argue?

Today, I do not do it like my mom or my ex, I e-file. I have several reasons. First, it is faster and easier to file. The computer asks a bunch of questions, I answer them, and presto! My taxes are filled out and ready for me to electronically sign. Then, if I am due a refund, I can have it directly deposited in my bank account in less than 3 weeks. Yippee!

However, the main reason I like doing my taxes via computer is because I want to make sure I get what’s coming to me. If I have to pay, I certainly do not want to give a cent more than is absolutely necessary. If I am getting something back, I for sure want to receive the maximum amount.

When I was a kid, tax time was extremely stressful. We knew to leave my folks alone, when all the paperwork can out. My ex-husband avoided stress by paying someone else to go through the forms. Now, I do not have the stress; and, I do not have to pay either. Some e-filing sites are free.

What would you recommend for making sure you get what’s coming to you at tax time?



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3 Responses to How to Make Sure You Get What’s Coming to You at Tax Time

  • Tina

    Thanks for the advice.

  • Frugal Dad

    I’ve been using TurboTax for some time now, along with e-file. You really can’t beat working these forms through the computer – all that paperwork is overly confusing!

  • Anthony

    My first piece of advice would be don’t pay for something you can get for free. If your adjusted gross income is less than $54,000 for 2007, you are entitled to use the IRS’ free file system (,,id=118986,00.html)

    If you qualify for free file, the IRS will direct you to a company who will prepare and file your federal tax returns for free. You will still be responsible for filing state taxes (if your state has income tax).

    If you’re going to self-prepare your taxes, just make sure you realize you’re accepting full responsibility for any errors you make, which might not be the case under the new tax-liability rules for professional preparers.