Day 6: Fill out your forms
Are you ready to have some tax fun? Today we get to work on your actual return.
If you use a software program, it will take you through the process, asking you for the information that you've collected over the last few days.
Millions of taxpayers, however, still send in hand-filled paper returns. In this case, you can either work your way through income and deduction data stacks, entering the information at the appropriate tax return lines, or you can start at the beginning of your chosen 1040 and work your way down the return.
If you're filling it in by hand, here's a tip: Have the instruction book for your tax return handy. While Form 1040 and any other schedules you might need seem daunting, they don't contain all the information you need to take full advantage of possible tax breaks. That's found in the instructions, where you can determine just what tax form lines do -- or don't -- apply to your personal filing situation.
Today might take a bit more than an hour; but as your mom cautioned, you don't want to be in too big of a hurry. Enter your information carefully to ensure you don't make any common tax-filing mistakes.
When you finish, set it aside. We have one more day to wrap things up.