Tips for Filing Your Family Taxes
It’s best to have a professional file your taxes for you. But, if you plan to do it yourself this year, then these tips should help you make a few more correct choices along the way.
Get Your W-4 Withholdings Taken Care of Ahead of Time
The goal when figuring out the number of allowances to take on your W-4 is to make your year-end tax liability a very low number. Too often, people will claim as many allowances as possible, enjoying a higher paycheck throughout the year, but later suffering when taxes are due and they owe Uncle Sam a surprisingly large amount. Also bad is claiming too few allowances and getting a huge tax refund – while the IRS was hanging onto that money for you all year, it could have been in your bank account accruing interest.
Choose Married Filing Jointly
When doing your taxes, you may have the option of choosing Married Filing Jointly or going with Head of Household. You can choose Married Filing Jointly as long as you were married by the final day of the year you are filing your taxes for, and you should choose Married Filing Jointly if you can.
A joint return will only get you and your spouse the personal exemption amount times two. But, when you choose Married Filing Jointly, you get one exemption that is higher than two personal exemptions added together. There are also credits and deductions that are only available to those who choose Married Filing Jointly.
Look Everywhere for Deductions
If you are filing your family taxes, then there’s a very good chance you qualify for enough to deductions to itemize your taxes. As long as you can get your deduction amount higher than the standard deduction for Married Filing Jointly, it’s a good idea to go with the deductions.
This can all get a little complicated, though – especially if you live in areas like California, Texas, or Florida, which each have their own complicated state returns. We recommend leaving it to the professionals. Using a tax professional to file your taxes can save you a lot of money.