Completing your own taxes isn’t as difficult as it seems

Sarah Erickson


Students shouldn’t pay hundreds of dollars to file annual taxes. The employees at these tax houses are not accountants; the majority of them are tax preparers. Since no one really knows the difference, we assume the preparer is highly trained and educated. They overcharge for a service that is quite simple. They are successful, simply because people are afraid of the IRS. The preparers do not go through extensive training courses. In fact, taxes are no where near as complicated as our imaginations lead us to believe.

Fear is the issue. Deal with these fears of the worst case scenario and then proceed with saving your cash. If you are not intentionally stealing money from the government, then you will be safe from harm and damages, I promise. If you make a mistake on your return, the

E-file system will reject it and ask you to fix the common errors. Once the mistakes are fixed, if any, then you simply resend it.

I have learned from experience how easy it really is. Think about it, even if you do get audited, it is not the end of the world. All you have to do is show your paperwork and if there is a mistake it gets fixed. The IRS has bigger fish to fry than a few students who barely make ends meet. Chances are your fear is the actual worst-case scenario and it will cost you hundreds each year in preparation costs.

You can E-file your taxes on the IRS website with Free File software as long as your Adjusted Gross Income was less than $58,000 last year. E-filing is easier than most people imagine especially if you are a student.

Tax Trails is a link on the website that you simply punch your numbers into and it will calculate which tax breaks you qualify for before you even begin filling out the tax form. It is important you use this tool because as a student, you will most likely qualify for one of the tax credits and you will want to decide which one gives you the greatest credit.

Go to and do your homework. If it takes you an hour, think of it as paying yourself an estimated $200 for that hour of work. Depending on your income, it could be more. Then add the amount you will save yourself every year thereafter. You are saving by taking the time to learn what you are paying in tax dollars and why.

The website makes it easy to file your taxes because several help options are available. A link titled Understanding Taxes will teach you what you need to know about tax obligations. Another link is available for those interested in learning how to become a tax preparer and help others file their returns.

I understand that convenience is worth its weight in gold, but the truth is that doing your own taxes is more convenient. You don’t have to leave the house. Also, the preparers are paid by the hour, so they don’t really care whether you receive tax credits or not. You still have to do your homework here. Why bother wasting money and possibly losing more in the process? If you are firm and resistant to doing your own taxes, then I suggest that you call a local tax preparer who charges a reasonable and fair fee.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Completing your own taxes isn’t as difficult as it seems

by Sarah Erickson time to read: 2 min