Imagine skipping a day of class, then coming into the next session and seeing a test. You open the packet and see what appears to be gibberish staring back at you. Everyone else around you seems to have a perfect grasp of what’s going on, but you’re just stumbling in the dark.
That can be what the process of preparing your taxes can feel like the first time you do them. You’re given a big pile of paper and expected to sort it out yourself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Before you start to panic, though, take a deep breath. There are a few questions that might make your life much easier. Grab that big stack of paper and ask yourself …
There’s an easy way to short circuit this whole process. If you didn’t make much money last year, you don’t have to file taxes. If your earned income (wages and tips) is less than $6,300 and your unearned income (interest and dividends) is less than $1,050, you probably don’t have to file taxes.
Of course, you might still want to do so. If you had a summer job, your employer took taxes out of your paycheck as though you’d been working all year. You might be able to get a little bit of a refund for your effort.
If your tax situation is relatively simple, you may be eligible to use a form called the 1040-EZ (as in easy). It’s a much more straightforward document. You just enter your wages, your filing status (married or single) and the taxes you’ve already paid. It’s all laid out on your W-2, the form you got in the mail or online from your employer.
The 1040-EZ lives up to its name. It’s one page long. Once you put your name, address and Social Security number on it, you’re about halfway done. You don’t get to claim any tax credits, but there aren’t a lot of tax credits available for college students in any case.
You don’t have to go it alone. If you’re feeling antisocial, you can (and should) use an e-filing service. The IRS has a tool to help you pick the best one. Remember, members of Wasatch Peaks can save up to $15 on TurboTax®!
There may also be tax help available. A program called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is available on many college campuses. Business students looking to bolster their resumes will frequently volunteer to help with taxes for free. This is especially important if your tax situation is more complicated, like if you’re paying for college on your own or have self-employment income from a side hustle.
Are you stressed about taxes? Tell us about it in the comments, or pop down and help your fellow students out!
Did you know that as a member of Wasatch Peaks Credit Union, you have many member benefits available to you? From shopping online and earning cash back to saving up to $15 on TurboTax®, being a Wasatch Peaks member really has its perks!
Wasatch Peaks and Powder Mountain are teaming up to bring you discount tickets! Wasatch Peaks members receive 15% off day lift tickets and 40% off night lift tickets. This makes night tickets start at less than $16, and day passes following in an affordable fashion! All you have to do is follow this exclusive link, and enter in the following (Case Sensitive) creditentials:
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The snow and weather are working in the favor of those of who ski or snowboard, so grab your poles or board and take this long weekend to hit the slopes! Wasatch Peaks wishes you the best of time and thanks you for being a member, right here in Utah.
Wasatch Peaks has teamed up with TurboTax® to save you up to $15 on TurboTax federal products, and a chance to win $25,000 in the $25,000 Payday Sweepstakes. TurboTax® translates taxes into simple questions about your life, so you don’t need tax knowledge – or an appointment – to get your taxes done right.
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NO PURCHASE OR FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia, 18 years of age or older at time of entry, who are customers or employees of Wasatch Peaks Credit Union. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. Sweepstakes ends 2/16/17. Subject to complete Official Rules and all applicable federal, state and local laws. For Official rules including odds of winning, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, visit the Official Rules. PRIZES: 1 Grand Prize: A check for $25,000. Retail value, $25,000. 12 First Prizes: A check for $1,000. Retail value, $1,000 each. Maximum retail value of all prizes is $37,000. The odds of winning a prize depend upon the total number of eligible entries received by the end of the Promotion Period. SPONSOR: Intuit Inc., 7535 Torrey Santa Fe Rd, SDG-2A-03-22E, San Diego, CA, 92129.
State filing charges apply. Limited time offer for TurboTax 2016. Terms, conditions, features, availability, pricing, fees, service and support options subject to change without notice. Intuit, TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties’ trademarks or service marks are the property of their respective owners.
Fall is officially here, which means that the last quarter of 2016 is about to start. It’s the perfect time to prepare for tax season. I want to prepare my tax information before the holiday season hits us.
Here are a few suggestions that I am working on in order to prepare for tax season. I invite you to join me.
We just cleaned out our garage and got rid of three large garbage bags full of things we no longer need! Donating used items to a qualified organization can qualify you for a tax deduction if you itemize your deductions. Besides possible tax benefits, this annual Fall purging and cleaning project helps us know what we have. As we sorted, we realize we had eight totes of toys and games. Our kids made comments like: “I forgot I had these,” and “I’ve never seen these toys.” I was really surprised at how much we needed to simplify. My husband and I both parted with college books that we haven’t used for a decade. So, even if this exercise doesn’t benefit you financially, it will benefit you.
Evaluate how it went last year with your budget. HSA’s are becoming more common. This may benefit you financially. You may qualify for a tax deduction. Do you want to increase, decrease, or keep this the same? Then, when your employer asks you, you will be ready and not make a last minute pressured decision. I speak from experience. Last year was our first year with an HSA, and my husband called me on the day of the deadline to see how much I wanted withheld.
Remember that you can donate to your IRA until the tax deadline on April 15th. My husband and I have used those extra few months so that we could contribute as much as possible. If you can max out your retirement contributions for the year by December 31, that is great, but if you can’t, plan for how much you will contribute and use the first quarter of 2017.
The better documentation you have, the more accurate your taxes will be so that you can maximize what deductions are taken. Teachers may be able to deduct the amount spent out-of-pocket for classroom expenses. Organize and keep unreimbursed receipts so that you can claim those out-of-pocket expenses.
If you had estimated tax payments, were they made? Did you keep track of those payments?
If you are an employee, you can look at your year-to-date federal and state withholding and decide if adjustments need to be made. Is too much or too little being withheld? You may be wondering why you would need to make adjustment. Don’t the tax tables calculate the right amount to be withheld? Not if you itemize.
Although it may be hard to think about taxes now, it will sure be nice to have all of our information ready to go. Remember, Wasatch Peaks Credit Union also offers a member discount on TurboTax. You could get started now estimating your 2016 taxes with TurboTax.
Everyone is looking for ways to save money these days. And that’s just what Love My Credit Union Rewards is all about. Here are some of the exclusive discounts helping members save on products and services you use every day. The more offers you take advantage of, the more you save.
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This year, file your taxes the smarter way, and get your biggest possible refund – guaranteed. TurboTax® guides you every step of the way. Plus, Wasatch Peaks Credit Union members can save up to $15 on TurboTax federal products.
© 2015-2016 Intuit Inc. All rights reserved. State filing charges apply. Limited time offer for TurboTax 2015. Terms, conditions, features, availability, pricing, fees, service and support options subject to change without notice. Intuit, TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties' trademarks or service marks are the property of their respective owners.
Everyone is looking for ways to save money, and that's just what Love My Credit Union Rewards is all about.
Wasatch Peaks Credit Union is excited to offer you exclusive discounts and benefits on products and services you use every day. Credit union members have already saved over $1.4 billion with Love My Credit Union Rewards discounts. So along with lower loan rates and fewer fees, here’s another way you can save even more.
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