How to File Your Taxes

Every year, Americans fill out papers to make sure they gave the government enough money. But the process is very complicated. Most simply write down a bunch of numbers, the first ones that pop into their head, send them off to the government, and wait to be taken to jail.

But you don’t have to go to jail, if you know the right numbers to write down. Here is how you find out the right numbers to send to the government in April so they don’t take you to jail.

STEPS

  1. Get tax forms. These should be available at your local tax form depot.
  2. Read the tax forms. This is so you don’t get surprised when line 4 gets added to line 8 near the end. It’s a pretty big twist.
  3. Call your employer, and anyone else who gave you money in the past year. Ask them all, “What are the numbers?” repeatedly. They will know what this means.
  4. Write down the numbers. Arrange them into the proper lines in the tax forms. You will know what lines the numbers go on because you read the forms earlier.
  5. Add and subtract the numbers as you have been instructed. See the article, “How to add and subtract articles as you have been instructed.”
  6. Continue to add and subtract until you get to the Final Number. This is your “tax number” and should be specific to you. In most cases, it will be your Social Security number. If it’s odd, you owe the government that much money. If it’s even, that’s how much they owe you.
  7. Send all your work to the government. Someone will be by to grade your work within a few weeks.

TIPS

  • Some places have businesses dedicated to filing your taxes for you. It costs money, but they will call your employers and get the numbers and add and subtract the numbers for you. These places are good to go to if you hate numbers.
  • Along with the work you send to the government, you should also send a check for the money you owe. If the government owes you money, send a detailed invoice.
  • You may want to get deductions on your taxes. You get these when you run a business or give to a charitable organization. It means you can just deduce how much tax you owe based on intuition.
  • In the past few years, the government has given people the option to e-file their taxes. This involves letters instead of numbers, but is otherwise the same.