What I Learned About Filing My Own Taxes

Last year, when I received my W-2 form in January I was thrilled. Finally, I wasn’t going to be the broke college student I had been for the past several months. I could finally afford extra guac at Chipotle, I could finally have a barista at Starbucks make my coffee instead of making it myself, and I could finally afford to buy a slightly less cheap vodka for the weekends than normal.

But my parents had told me that their accountant wasn’t going to be filing our taxes until April………… I was going to have to wait four months…….so basically eternity. So my dreams of being a “rich college student” for a small period of time were going to have to wait four months... Later that week I went to work, and my employees who were all the same age as me (20-21 years old) were talking about how they had already received their tax money, and what they were going to spend their extra money on. They explained to me how easy it was for them to file their taxes on their own by using free tax websites. That night, I did my research and I found Turbo Tax.

There are several websites that offer similar services, but for me I found Turbo Tax to be the most helpful. The website is very self-explanatory, and when filing your W-2 form they walk you through the process making sure that you are doing it correctly. I was able to file both my state and federal taxes, and was only charged $20 for the entire process. After I was done, I clicked submit, and literally 3 days later the money was in my bank account, and I was that “rich college student” for only a few weeks but was still able to splurge for a little while

Things to know about filing your own taxes: If you choose to do so yourself, make sure to talk with your parents or guardian beforehand. Most parents have to claim you on their taxes, and if you don’t recognize that when filing your taxes, it will screw your parents over when they go to file theirs.

Give yourself time. The whole process took me about 2 hours just because I wanted to make sure I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. You don’t want to start the process and have to go back and do it later, just find the time in your week, sit down and bang it out.

Now Turbo Tax and websites similar to it, might not be for everyone. Some people prefer to go to an accountant just to make sure they are doing the job right, and that’s okay. But for me, a college student who works part time, I found that doing it myself on Turbo Tax, was the easiest and fastest way for me to file my taxes.

Good luck, and happy tax season!