This post is part of the TaxAct #DIYtaxes blog tour which empowers you to take ownership of your finances by doing your own taxes. TaxAct provides the tools and guidance to help you confidently file your taxes easy and fast. Do your own taxes today at TaxAct.com. You got this.

“Did you do your taxes?,” I said to my boyfriend.

“Uhhh, not yet, but I got the forms from work,” he said.

“It’s April 5th. The tax deadline is right around the corner,” I said.

Realizing he was cutting it close to the deadline, I saw panic wash over his face. Now, I don’t like tax time any more than the next person, but my boyfriend has absolutely zero patience for anything administrative. As a personal finance nerd (and good girlfriend), I decided to help him out in exchange for dinner and dish duty.

Little did he know my secret that made doing his taxes a breeze: TaxAct.

TaxAct is an online tax software that helps you prepare your tax returns. If you have a simple tax return, it’s completely free.

It was easy to create an account with TaxAct, and since we had organized all of his forms, all I had to do was follow the prompts and fill in the blanks. Easy peasy!

If you’re also rushing to beat the tax deadline, you don’t have to go out and spend a ton of money on getting your taxes prepared by someone else. You can DIY-it and do your taxes yourself. Here are some tips for doing your taxes yourself and getting them done ASAP.

Gather All Your Paperwork

Before you do your taxes, you must get all your paperwork ready first. If you don’t, there’s going to be a lot of stops and starts, and doing your taxes will be a pain.

You’ll want to gather your:

If you’re a freelancer or even a superb side hustler, you will want to gather all of your receipts that may be considered business expenses.

Depending on your unique tax situation, you may have more forms to include. On the other hand, some of these may not apply to you at all. The key is to get all of these forms in one place so that you have them readily available when doing your own taxes.

Typically, your bank or student loan servicer will notify you when your forms are ready and you can download them from your account.

Pick a Tax Software

Once you have all your info, pick out a tax software to get started. As I said, we used TaxAct and it was pretty straightforward and easy to use. The instructions are clear, and if you have your paperwork ready, you just plug in your numbers as directed.

Make sure you understand any fees or fine print before choosing an option. The cool thing about TaxAct is that they have a price match guarantee to ensure you’ll get the lowest price. Score!

Once you pick a tax software, carve out at least 30 to 60 minutes to complete your taxes. To make it more fun, put on some good tunes, get some coffee and JUST DO IT.

Once you submit your tax return, you’ll feel a huge weight off your shoulders! Either you’ll owe or you’ll get a refund. I ended up owing this year because I made good money last year and didn’t quite pay enough in quarterly estimates (that’s right, self-employed folks get to pay taxes FOUR times a year!). My boyfriend ended up getting a $1,300 refund, which is great.

If you do get a refund, I recommend getting direct deposit so that your refund can go straight to your checking account. Cha-ching! That way you’ll avoid any mail drama and you can get it even faster. Wondering what to do with your refund? I recommend taking $20 out for “fun money” and then save and pay off debt with the rest. How is that for some balance?

Why You Should Do Your Own Taxes

If you’re an employee with minimal tax paperwork, you can save big by doing your own taxes. You don’t need to drop hundreds of dollars on help when the tools are out there for you to do them yourself. You don’t need to worry about messing them up so long as you read the prompts carefully and double check your work.

In addition to saving money, doing your own taxes can empower you to understand your finances better. You’ll understand just how much money you made last year, how much you paid in student loan interest and more. Knowing the numbers can be eye-opening and help you get a more accurate picture of your finances.

Beating the tax deadline doesn’t have to be stressful. With TaxAct, everything you need to confidently prepare and e-file your taxes is right at your fingertips. You got this. File your simple federal and state return FREE today with TaxAct.

Melanie

Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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