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7 Expert Tips to Make the Tax Filing Process Stress-Free This Tax Season

54% of Gen Z are stressed over filing their tax returns and 38% of millennials have also reported to feel this level of stress.
Cover Image source: Tax time | Pexels | Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich
Cover Image source: Tax time | Pexels | Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

Seven tips to make tax season less stressful

Pexels | Nataliya Vaitkevich
Fixing taxes (representational image) | Pexels | Nataliya Vaitkevich

Tax season is here and reports say that 54% of Gen Z are stressed over filing their tax returns and 38% of millennials have also reported to feel this level of stress. If you are somebody who is filing their taxes for the first time and feeling stressed, then we hope you feel better after knowing that you are not alone. The survey also found that 62% of first-time filers were not sure of when they should expect their W-2s, 1099s, or other tax forms while 45% of Gen Z and 36% of millennials weren't sure when their taxes needed to be filed.

"It's clear that many Americans—but particularly younger filers—view filing their taxes as a confusing, anxiety-inducing experience that's painful to navigate," said Erika Carney, product lead for Cash App Taxes, as per CNET. So, today we are taking a look at seven tips that will come in handy and will make your tax filing process stress-free.

1.  Use the free resources

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Scott Olson
IRS guidelines | Getty Images | Photo by Scott Olson

You don't have to pay somebody to learn how to file taxes, especially in the day and age of the internet. According to Dana Ronald, president of the Tax Crisis Institute, the best way is to start with the basics and understand what are the forms that one needs to file based on the income their income. "The IRS has free resources for taxpayers of all ages, including online tools, publications, and workshops," he adds. Another great way to learn the foundation of tax filing is by following accredited professionals on social media like the tax coach Duke Alexander of Duke Tax. 

2. Use your phone to file taxes

Pexels | Photo by Karolina Grabowska
You can file taxes on your phone (representational image) | Pexels | Photo by Karolina Grabowska

The Cash App Taxes survey found that 38% of the participants preferred their phone to file the taxes. The major companies in the tax industry offer their mobile apps to make the process of filing easy and convenient. You can check apps like TurboTax, H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Cash App Taxes, and TaxSlayer. Most of these companies let you switch between your mobile and desktop seamlessly. 

3. Find out if you qualify to file for free

Pixabay | Pexels
There are many free tax filing options (representational image) | Pexels | Pixabay

While you think that there is no other way but to pay the filing fees that some of these services ask for, the truth is that you can very well be eligible to file for free with IRS Free File. There are plenty of other free filing options like Cash App Taxes, TaxSlayer, TurboTax, H&R Block, FreeTaxUSA, and TaxHawk. Take a proper look at the criteria before filing. Every year, new free services emerge, so it's best to keep your eyes and ears open for new free services. 

4. File as soon as possible and get your refund faster

Photo by Leeloo The First:
Pexels | Leeloo The First

According to the Cash App Taxes survey, many people have plans to do something with their refund money. So, if you hate filing taxes, think about the refund money. "Filing your taxes early can alleviate any last-minute stress and give you time to reach out to a tax professional if needed," Ronald said. Find some time and start planning on how to file your taxes. Remember, you don't have to finish filing in one go, you can always pick up from where you left. 

5. Check if you are eligible for tax breaks, especially if you are a student

Pexels | Nataliya Vaitkevich
College students are eligible for tax breaks | Pexels | Nataliya Vaitkevich

If you are in college, there are potential tax breaks that you should know about."Students should be aware of education-related tax breaks, such as the American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit, which can help offset the cost of tuition and related expenses," Ronald said. The American Opportunity Tax Credit lets you claim up to $2,500 in eligible expenses while the Lifetime Learning Credit lets you claim up to $2,000. If you are eligible for both credits, you will be able to only claim one. 

6. Got student loans? Get a tax break

Pexels | Nataliya Vaitkevich
There are potential deductions for interest paid on student loans  | Pexels | Nataliya Vaitkevich

"For those with student loan debt, be aware of potential deductions for interest paid on student loans and other related costs," Ronald said. If you have made payments toward interest in 2023, you can deduct this from your taxes. Log into your student loan account and look for the tax form 1098-E to see if you paid interest last year. If you are somebody who got a student loan forgiveness, you are currently exempt from paying federal tax on the forgiven amount. 

7. Stay on top of your side hustle income

Nataliya Vaitkevich | Pexels
Keep track of your side hustle incomes throughout the year | Pexels | Nataliya Vaitkevich

If you are a freelancer, then it's important to organize your earnings throughout the year. While the IRS has delayed the rolling out of the 1099-K, it's important to note that you have to report your earnings. "Keep track of all your income and expenses throughout the year, rather than waiting until tax season," Ronald said. "This will make it easier to report your income accurately and claim all potential deductions." If you have multiple side hustles, consider working with a tax professional to ensure everything is reported correctly and to take advantage of any deductions or credits available," he added.