How to Make Filing US Taxes Easier

US tax filing doesn't have to feel like root canal. The pain can be dulled once you realize that tax withholding, filing status, and allowable deductions are much more simple when you have a plan. If you keep abreast of the newest updates, which change from year to year you can gain mastery over filing taxes and walk away with some cash!


  1. Image titled Negotiate a Short Sale Step 4
    Gather all of your records together. Take the time to get everything in order before you start doing anything. It will take a few minutes, but it will pay off later.
  2. Image titled Get off Mailing Lists Step 8
    Set a time when you won't be disturbed for an hour, or so. More, if you need to organize your records. It won't take long, but you'll do yourself a huge favor if you have a time where you can concentrate.
  3. Image titled Follow the Mortgage Accelerator Plus Program Step 5
    Get your records, tax forms, instruction, your calculator, and the IRS Pub 17 together. The IRS Pub 17 form can be downloaded from: Read all of the forms thoroughly so you have a good idea of the information you will need before you do anything else. This includes the 1040EZ, 1040A, or 1040 return, and the supplemental forms (Schedule A, EIC form 596, Child Tax Credit form 972, Dependent Child Care Expenses form 2441, Additional Child Tax Credit form 8812).
  4. Image titled Generate Leads Step 3
    Have all of the required forms in front of you. When you fill them out, do so line by line and follow the instructions precisely. Don't get ahead of yourself, and you won't get confused. Try not to let fear hold you back. Just complete the forms as necessary, be careful, check your work, and you'll be fine.
  5. Image titled Negotiate a Short Sale Step 11
    The W-4 is not the same as a return. The filing status and allowances are between you and your employer. On the W-4 the filing status is nothing more than telling your employer what to withhold from your check. It's not the same as the filing status on your return. You can adjust this this to affect your refund at the end of the year. You have the option of choosing from more than one status.
  6. Image titled Find Unclaimed Money Step 12
    Determine which status option will benefit you the most. Regardless of your status, you can claim the allowance you want to have the maximum amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck in order to get the highest refund after you file. You can also claim the maximum allowance, but be careful when doing so, as you may end up owing money at filing time. You can change this at any time during the year. Just file a new W-4 and your withholding will change.
  7. Image titled Negotiate Your Personal Debts Step 7
    If you make a mistake, don't panic. That's what the 1040-X is for. This form is intended to tell the IRS that there was an error and that you will be amending your tax statement. The IRS knows that people make mistakes.
    • Filing 1040-X is much cheaper than being audited and having to pay collections. Don't wait too long, though. If you've already gotten your refund, you may have to send some of it back.


  • Make sure all lines are filled in.
  • Publications are listed on the IRS Publication Picklist. [1]
  • Because of the Special Rules, MFS would generally assess a higher tax.[2]
  • For more forms that are commonly used in personal filing see the IRS Picklist. [3]
  • Forms and Instructions are listed on the IRS Form Picklist. [4]
  • All forms are searchable on the IRS Topical Index. [5]
  • There is a tutorial at This will walk you through the process of understanding taxes. Refer to the tutorial frequently for more information.
  • Read and fill out all of the credit and deduction forms. Leave the 1040-type form for last. Read the 1040-of-your-choice first. Fill out the forms as you go along, and put the end results on the return. When they are all done, do the math. When that's finished, the return will almost fill itself out.
  • The IRS rules are very forgiving when you look to pay the minimum tax and gaining the maximum refund.
  • IRS Publication 17 is called the Preparer's Bible. If you have any questions about exemptions, deductions, or credits you will find all your answers here.
  • Many of the credits require separate forms to be included to support those claimed on side 2 of Form 1040. Just fill them out and put the solution on the 1040 return. Make sure they are filled in correctly and completely.
  • All itemized items claimed on Schedule A, and any other Schedule, need to be supported with complete records such as receipts.
  • Some kinds of deductions may be estimated such as claiming a small cash contribution (for example a reasonable amount per week at church should not be a problem) for which you do not file out a donation form or church donation envelope, keep concurrent records or receive any receipts.
  • Don't get Common-Law and Community Property confused. Check your state laws. In all states common Law marriages must be divorced, annulled, dissolved or separated in the same means as marriages in all other states.


  • This is not tax advice. Tax laws change from year to year. This article attempts to stay within the most common adjustments. That's why dollar figures are not given. The dollar limits for the year in question are printed in the Pub 17 for that year. This is intended to give you the information to do your taxes yourself. You should be able to do every kind of the most common individual taxes with the instructions and the Pub 17. However, if you run into questions that are just too confounding, don't hesitate to contact a pro. You can even call the IRS help line. They don't bite. Really.
  • Putting furniture out on the curb is not a charitable contribution, even if someone takes it.
  • A section of a common room in the house cannot be claimed as an office, but a specific, isolated space clearly for your home business office may be allowed. A separate room used for nothing else is an office.
  • The IRS will pursue you relentlessly if anything on your return seems fraudulent, and is not corrected. If they bring an error to you attention, just correct it and follow it through. File a 1040-X Amended form as soon as possible to correct the error. It's a correction process that's there to help you amend an error. The only thing you can really do wrong is to ignore it or run from it.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencils
  • Calculator
  • Tax Return (1040/A/EZ)
  • Supplemental Forms as needed: EIC form 596
    • Child Tax Credit form 972
    • Dependent Child Care Expenses form 2441
    • Additional Child Tax Credit form 8812

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