Ah, tax time is here again, but don’t worry! If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, I have your handy dandy guide to getting it done with minimal fuss.
Step 1. Research all of the tax preparation software out there. You think there are only 2 or 3, but ohhhh no, there are tons, and they’re all a little different, and they all have 3 or 4 “levels.” And the levels don’t necessarily match. The H&R Block Super Duper Shiny Level doesn’t necessarily match the TurboTax OMG Awesomest Ever Level. So you can’t really compare apples to apples. But that’s just part of the fun of doing taxes.
Step 2. Once you’ve picked your tax prep software, go through the questions and start entering stuff.
Step 3. Realize you’re missing a W2 or a 1099. Stop preparing your taxes for a week or so while you or your significant other track down the missing form. Buy your HR representative some chocolate, because she probably hates you now for having to hunt down another copy for you.
Step 4. Resume answering questions. If there’s a question you don’t understand, eeny meeny miney moe works as well as anything.
Step 5. Get to the end, realize you’re not getting a refund. Curse, kick and scream, and then start over to see if you can get a refund if you answer some questions differently. Married? Am I really married? It’s just a societal convention, after all…
Step 6. Proudly show your significant other that you have completed your tax return. Wait for significant other to comment upon it. Wait for significant other’s various and supposedly tax-savvy relatives to comment upon it. Chew nails to nubs as April 15 approaches, your tax return is done, but you still haven’t filed it.
Step 7. Begin questioning your methods, accuracy, and audit risk. Decide to go to a CPA instead. Pay rush fee because it’s noon on April 14.
Step 8. Just file an extension. You can do this stuff later.