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Taxes: Do it Yourself Guide

Dealing with the US tax system is a difficult challenge. The system is unintentionally designed to lower your productivity and doing it right requires you to stop doing the next exciting thing you had been planning to do for so long, and learn a ton of rules certainly not made for fellow homosapians. No matter, my intention on this site will be to walk you through the process.

First, remember that taxes have deadlines. For most people the magic date is April 15th. That is not true for everyone though. If you are self employed or own a company your taxes maybe due quarterly. Before we continue, check important tax deadlines to see if yours is due anytime soon.

So, a significant portion of your earnings will be taken away from you to pay for the highly paid, but mostly incompetent government employees all around this country. That is, there are too many interested local and federal government agencies who hold a claim on your hard earned money, and it is your responsibility that you get it out to them. Fortunately, there is a process just for that: Send one check (+1 or more form[s]) to the Federal government (the IRS) and another check to your state and you'll be done. Your state will then go through the trouble of giving a portion of your money to your county and city.

Let us go through the two in detail:

Federal Taxes

Filing federal taxes is relatively easy. There is one required form (Form 1040) to file that includes all earnings and other financial activities you've had in the past year. This form is rather comprehensive and unnecessarily long for most people. To resolve this issue, the IRS has issued two alternative forms: 1040A, 1040EZ that are respectively simpler alternatives to the 1040 form. Guys at TaxBox.org have done a good job at producing line-by-line guides to each of these forms.

State Taxes

Filing state taxes vary from state to state. There are a number of states that do not require any state taxes, in which case you can safly stop reading this article. The rest of us, however, we should read up on each state tax instructions based on where you have lived and earned money to file appropariate taxes.