Filing your taxes does not have to be scary

By Danny Ciamprone

DeKALB | Going to the dentist, having to report for jury duty and filing one’s taxes are a few of the most dreaded tasks for some Americans.

According to several tax professionals though, taxes are not as scary as most people make them out to be.

Senaida Avalos, office manager at H&R Block, 830 W. Lincoln Highway, said the trick is to not rush into doing your taxes, but rather stay at a steady, organized pace.

“Getting your taxes done depends entirely on the person,” Avalls said. “A student who gets their W-2 forms can get those done rather quickly, typically by the end of January. If it’s a homeowner though, then they can choose to wait because they may not have all their receipts ready yet.”

One of the questions people routinely ask themselves is whether to do taxes on their own or hire a professional, such as those who work at H&R Block.

“I personally think it’s best if people talk with someone in the field,” Avalos said. “When I was younger I did my own taxes, but each year the tax laws changed and it became harder to keep up with them.”

If one decides to file taxes on their own, they will need certain items, Avalos said. The first is the correct forms, and the second is a record of all receipts so deductions can be accurately filed.

Brad Cripe, assistant professor of accounting, said the ease and speed of doing one’s taxes depends on the person.

“Some people have returns that are simple with one job and one checking account,” Cripe said. “But if you have a house with a lot of stuff you may have to go to a tax pro.”

Cripe went on to give advice to people who choose to do taxes themselves, such as using online software such as TurboTax, his personal choice.

“There are links on the IRS web site that provide opportunities and help for no cost,” Cripe said. “Students can also pick up tax forms at the library.”

Another fear people have after filing taxes is discovering they have been audited. According to the IRS website, a tax audit is when an IRS agent verifies the accuracy of a tax return. Sometimes this is done because of inaccuracies; other times it is by done by samplings, like jury duty.

“The two main reasons why people are audited are because they either did not report an income or they don’t have receipts when they make charitable contributions,” Cripe said. “The trick is to just stay organized and keep track of everything.”

Josh Hertz, junior political science major,said he filed his taxes in January, but did not receive a return until late February.

“I go to an H&R Block year in and year out,” Hertz said. “I try and get them out of the way as soon as I can.”

Normally, taxes are due on April 15 every year. This year the date has been pushed back to April 18 thanks to Abraham Lincoln. Typically, Washington D.C. recognizes Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation on April 16.

This year the date falls on a Saturday, so the day is observed on Friday, giving taxpayers until Monday to file.