With the new year comes many exciting things: new resolutions, new classes and having to file your taxes. If having to do so causes you stress, then worry not, because I’m here to walk you through all of your tax season concerns. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Only two things are sure, death and taxes,” so the tombstone below gives a concise guide for learning an adult skill and being well on your way to financial literacy.
As any responsible college student would do, the first priority in approaching your taxes is to call a qualified professional, like your long-neglected mother. This will take longer than you might want: as a dutiful child, you’ll have to fill her in on your classes, friends, love interests and summer plans. After her impassioned exhortations to call more often, you still won’t have your necessary W-2 form from your employer, but at least your mom has put it in the mail to be delivered in the next three to five business days. As a bonus for reminding her that she can still provide guidance in your life, she promises to package the form with some snacks and the blanket you left at home over winter break.
You’ve waited patiently for four business days, so now it’s time to trudge to Benson in order to retrieve your W-2. Upon reaching your PO box, you discover that even though your mom tracked the delivery information and sent you a kind text to remind you to go check the mail, the package still hasn’t been processed and placed in your box. You walk back to your residence hall, shivering and disappointed.
After going back to Benson three days later, you finally have your W-2 and snacks in hand! There are also a couple of thoughtfully placed photos of your dog in the box, so you spend the rest of the evening scrolling through old photos of her.
Now that you have the appropriate forms to actually file your taxes, it’s time to create a pro and con list for calling your parents for help on the issue. On the one hand, doing so will greatly lighten your workload and proceeding alone could potentially lead to not getting as much money back as possible. On the other hand, calling them could lead to an unnecessarily long lecture regarding the transactions on your last financial statement. You’re particularly worried about potentially having to explain a $50 charge from Wake Mart.
After neglecting to call home, a quick Google search for “filing my taxes” results in a plethora of advertisements promoting the service of various agencies promising free, easy tax returns. You have a healthy distrust of the algorithms and funds that have determined that these websites should be the ones to appear in your search engine, but you eventually select the first option out of five. Upon being prompted to create an account before proceeding, you cave and call your parents.
You successfully dodge the Wake Mart conversation, create an account and file your taxes! Apparently, with recent developments in tax filing technology, the only thing that you had to do involved taking a picture of your W-2 and allowing the website to extract your relevant information. A sky blue, eye-catching graphic pops up notifying you that the grand total for your return comes out to a monumental $44.
You forgot to stay on the phone long enough to consult your parents on how to actually receive your money, so you’re forced to spend the next 30 minutes trying to figure out how to enter the routing information to your checking account. The time wasted sifting through your desk and underneath your bed to find the relevant information only complicated this process, but you at least found a $5 McDonald’s gift card in the process. Finally, your taxes have been filed, and your money is due sometime within the next two months.
And last but certainly not least, the eighth and final step to filing your taxes. Unsubscribe from an email list that you accidentally signed up for somewhere along the way.