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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Filing taxes online?

    So with the upcoming stimulus thing in the US... I'm trying to figure out how to file my taxes for the first time, and kinda... hitting a wall.
    Is it possible to do it fully online? Or do I need to mail out a form?
    While the stimulus check isn't the most vital thing in the world, if I qualify for it, I really would like to make sure it actually ends up at my current address.
    If it matters to the process any, I'm 25 and have never been employed, and owe no debts of any sort. So... the part I think most people have issues with, calculating how much they owe and whatnot, seems like it should just be a set "0$"?

    I've tried searching online, but a lot of resources seemed like they were oriented toward people who have done this before, or already know a fair bit about the process. That plus... I'm really bad at using google to find stuff.
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Togath View Post
    So with the upcoming stimulus thing in the US... I'm trying to figure out how to file my taxes for the first time, and kinda... hitting a wall.
    Is it possible to do it fully online? Or do I need to mail out a form?
    While the stimulus check isn't the most vital thing in the world, if I qualify for it, I really would like to make sure it actually ends up at my current address.
    If it matters to the process any, I'm 25 and have never been employed, and owe no debts of any sort. So... the part I think most people have issues with, calculating how much they owe and whatnot, seems like it should just be a set "0$"?

    I've tried searching online, but a lot of resources seemed like they were oriented toward people who have done this before, or already know a fair bit about the process. That plus... I'm really bad at using google to find stuff.
    There are various sites that will file your taxes for free online. I think turbo-tax has one. I know that credit karma has one because I have used it for the last 4-ish years. I'm not sure how they handle the case of no income, but you should be able to file taxes online and have the government just roll their eyes at you for it. I do know that they do not like filing taxes in multiple states (which is always somehow much worse than just filing 2 state returns).
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    First, given that you're in Washington state, I hope you're doing okay.

    If your state is like mine, the public libraries should have free tax clinics for low-income, self-employed and unemployed citizens. Where I am, they set up shop in the back of the library, with a staff of retired CPAs who can walk you through the process and file online while you watch. If your situation isn't too complicated, they should be able to do it for you quickly--and most importantly, for free.

    Right now my public library system is closed to the public, but staff are still coming in to work. If it's the same where you are, you might try calling them just to see if they host that kind of tax assistance. From there you can get in touch with whoever runs the tax clinic and see if they can answer your questions.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2020-03-28 at 06:32 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    First, given that you're in Washington state, I hope you're doing okay.

    If your state is like mine, the public libraries should have free tax clinics for low-income, self-employed and unemployed citizens. Where I am, they set up shop in the back of the library, with a staff of retired CPAs who can walk you through the process and file online while you watch. If your situation isn't too complicated, they should be able to do it for you quickly--and most importantly, for free.

    Right now my public library system is closed to the public, but staff are still coming in to work. If it's the same where you are, you might try calling them just to see if they host that kind of tax assistance. From there you can get in touch with whoever runs the tax clinic and see if they can answer your questions.

    .
    I'm doing okay. Family is still doing alright on supplies, but the lockdown has made some stuff awkward. Calling the local libraries might be good to try. Didn't know any offered that sort of support.
    Ours are closed too... but probably in the same "staff still comes by" way?
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Isnít the stimulus a tax credit? If youíre not and have never been employee I donít think that will do anything for you.

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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Glad to hear you're doing OK.

    As to your question, I can confirm that turbo-tax does indeed have one, as does h&r block. Both of those a free for simple returns, I just can't remember what qualifies as a simple return, however.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    Isnít the stimulus a tax credit? If youíre not and have never been employee I donít think that will do anything for you.
    Maybe? Finding out how it works has been proving... extremely difficult.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    Isnít the stimulus a tax credit? If youíre not and have never been employee I donít think that will do anything for you.
    As I understand it, no, it's not a tax credit, but the US government will use 2018-2019 tax records to send out the payments. If you haven't filed taxes in the last two years, it'll be difficult to get your payments.

    I do know that there are free options for filing your taxes online if your income level is low enough. Mine is not, so I have to pay for my online tax prep. It's required by law that free options be available for low-income (and that it not be available for higher income).

    Having never used the free versions myself, I'd recommend following Rockphed's advice (and link).

    I just had a thought. If you were claimed by someone else as a dependent, that person might get your stimulus payment. To be clear, I do not know if this is the case. My adult teenage son made enough money last year that we couldn't claim him as a dependent, but his twin sister made less, and we were able to claim her, which is what gave me the thought.

    If you were not claimed, then you'll need to file your taxes; that much I do know. You also might discover you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which will be a nice surprise bonus!

    Best of luck to you!
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    I've been doing my taxes online for like 10 years now. It's super easy.

    Except for the couple years I was unemployed. Why would you bother filing taxes if you have no income?
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    I do know that there are free options for filing your taxes online if your income level is low enough. Mine is not, so I have to pay for my online tax prep. It's required by law that free options be available for low-income (and that it not be available for higher income).

    Having never used the free versions myself, I'd recommend following Rockphed's advice (and link).
    Credit Karma's system is not perfect, but unless you are trying to file in multiple states it thinks it can cover anything for free. I know I had a complicated enough tax return this last year that I would not have been able to use the free version of Turbotax or H&R block.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    I have used H&R Block's online tools for close to a decade. For most of those, I have not had to pay; I only have the past couple because I bought a house. A couple years ago, I helped my mother-in-law file using TurboTax, which was also free for her (whereas H&R Block was not, for her, for whatever reason).

    We live in Texas, though, with no state income taxes.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    If Togath is 25, it's unlikely anybody claimed him as a dependent. But you'd better ask your parents if they did, as that affects your tax status in some states (I don't know if WA is one).

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    The Internal Revenue Service has a list of free tax filing providers here: https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/
    Some of them have particular requirements, such as only doing state taxes for certain state, or only only if your adjusted gross income is in a certain range.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Hmm. I keep running into issues when trying to file a 0$ tax form online. Would moving it to 1$ make it work maybe? I could in theory claim I earned that much through random change I found on the ground.
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Togath View Post
    Hmm. I keep running into issues when trying to file a 0$ tax form online. Would moving it to 1$ make it work maybe? I could in theory claim I earned that much through random change I found on the ground.
    I think that that falls under the heading of "legal advice", which we can't give you. I'm sorry. I think your best place for such advice would be the aforementioned free tax seminars or the people who give them.
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    Rockphed said it well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    We should change the collective noun for crocodiles to "an abundance of crocodiles".
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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    What sort of issues? TurboTax, in its on-line documentation, notes that there are situations in which it makes sense to file with zero income, so the software should be able to handle it, except for those providers that list an explicit lower limit on income that they will handle.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Melayl View Post
    Glad to hear you're doing OK.

    As to your question, I can confirm that turbo-tax does indeed have one, as does h&r block. Both of those a free for simple returns, I just can't remember what qualifies as a simple return, however.

    Stay well!
    I can second H&R Block, since I use their free version.

    However, if you have an unusual W-2, you may not be able to file online. My wife has one (since her "work income" is actually long-term disability insurance). Therefore IRS wants a physical copy of the W-2.

    Note that filing online has nothing to do with which version of their system I use (free, regular, premium, etc.). You can have a fairly complex situation and still file online, as long as nothing is unusual (not the same as complex).
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Ended up!.. just doing a mail-in one in the end. Then found out part of my rush, the stimulus bill, is active until the end of the year. So if stuff goes wrong with this mail-in one for some reason, I can try again with online tools.

    Thank you all for the help and suggestions.
    Last edited by Togath; 2020-04-02 at 05:22 AM.
    Meow(Steam page)
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    It's a bit late now, but it's probably worth checking to see if you were listed as a dependant on somebody elses 2018 or 2019 tax form (depending on which is in use that you're filing late). The actual mechanics of the advanced tax credit are weird and nonintuitive, starting with the use of a tax credit at all. If you want I can point you to about an hour and a half of detailed analysis of the actual bill. I can also point you to the actual bill, but it's 880 pages of obtuse legalese.
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Here's a link to the IRS website for getting them your direct deposit info if you didn't file:
    https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/econ...mpact-payments

    If you did file, but requested a check, then you will eventually want the link in the right column (available "mid-April" for whatever that means).
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    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    I didn't want to belabour the point originally, but something I thought about having just filed my taxes online myself (not in the US for reasons that will become obvious).

    It took me less than 30mins to do it at the tax office's dedicated site. Most of that time was spent trying to remember where exactly I put the receipts I knew I was saving. And making a cup of coffee. Most information about income, expenses yadda yadda already exist in the system as various entities report it in.
    The only entities who might need an accountant are large corporations and a vanishingly small subsection of (very wealthy) people.

    Now granted for years now the government has specifically aimed towards moving to electronic filing and making the process easier, but still. A country like the US with some of the most advanced software companies and the process cannot be made easier? Boggles my mind.

    I mean the simplest case at the moment is "I didn't want to make any changes" then you can just not do anything and it's all sorted automatically. Basically equivalent to "I have nothing to file taxes about".

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Somehow, I doubt your government is tinkering with the tax code a couple times a quarter. Which Congress does. But hopefully the current crisis will push us into updating a lot of things (like making the internet a Title III utility so everyone gets it at a reasonable rate).

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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Now granted for years now the government has specifically aimed towards moving to electronic filing and making the process easier, but still. A country like the US with some of the most advanced software companies and the process cannot be made easier? Boggles my mind.
    Oh, it could be - but H&R Block and Turbotax aren't spending all that lobbying money so that people can easily file taxes without using them.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Filing taxes online?

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    I mean the simplest case at the moment is "I didn't want to make any changes" then you can just not do anything and it's all sorted automatically. Basically equivalent to "I have nothing to file taxes about".
    I'm surprised too. We have like the most complicated tax law over here and they still have official and free programs to file taxes (online or offline). With obvious features like help/explanations, cosistency checks and importing your numbers from last year.

    You know, else you file your taxes in paper and somebody needs to spend working hours deciphering your script and putting it into the machine.

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