My son was home from college for the weekend and expressed interest in getting his tax return done. He’s received a significant refund in the past, and wanted to get this year’s version into his bank account. I involved him in the process before, but this year he was going to be all in.
First, I instructed him to gather information he would need throughout the process:
Collect Needed Documents
For my son, this only meant his W-2 forms. Since he switched jobs in May, he had two of them. Both were sent to our home address so I had them ready to go.
Install Tax Preparation Software
I’ve used H&R Block tax preparation software for years. He watched as I went to their website, purchased and downloaded the deluxe version. The software cost $45 and although I paid for it (since I’d be using it too) I made sure he knew how much it cost. Once it was downloaded I started the application which prompted it to check for and install updates.
Import Previous Data
I started a new tax return for my son, and showed him how I imported his data from his previous year’s return. This pulled in all his personal data as well as any data needed from the actual return, saving him time typing it in.
Towards the end of the process he will have to enter his driver’s license number, so I told him to make sure he had it handy.
Whether he was getting a refund or having to pay in (It was obvious he would be getting a refund) his bank account information would need to be entered. Having his bank’s routing number and his checking account number ready will let him breeze through the process.
With his two W-2s resting on the computer desk in front of him, I left my son alone to work through the rest of the process. I told him I’d check in with him after I ran an errand. I also told him I wanted to look it over before we submitted it.
After checking his work, we were ready to submit his return to the IRS. This is where a surprise was headed his way. He had no idea there was a fee for e-filing his taxes.
Fees For Filing
- Federal e-filing: The H&R Block comes with 5 free federal filings, so nothing out of pocket there.
- State e-filing: I informed him of the $19.95 fee to file his state tax return. I told him he could save the fee by printing out his state return and mailing it in, but it would take much longer to get his refund. He opted to pay the $19.95.
- Refund Transfer Amount: The program then gave him the option of paying his state e-filing fee with funds from his federal tax refund. This sounded great to him as that meant he didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket for his taxes. He changed his mind when the text on the screen stated there would be a $34.95 fee to do so.
He entered his debit card information to pay the $19.95 to e-file his state tax return and hit the submit button to send his tax return to the IRS.
My son sat back in the office chair, his taxes complete. He completed the process almost all on his own and had a greater understanding of how taxes worked and what it took to complete his tax return each year.
How about you EOD Nation, when did your first do your tax return all on your own?