How to Finally Master Your Taxes

Some tips for first time tax filers.Some tips for first time tax filers.Don't have an accountant boyfriend or mom and dad helping you file your tax return this year? Whatever, you got this! Cosmopolitan columnist and LearnVest CEO Alexa von Tobel dishes on all the need-to-know financial info for tax season.

By Dara Adeeyo

Where do I even start?
First, decide if you need to call an accountant or not. If you have simple taxes, you won't need to contact one.

How do I figure out if I have simple taxes?
That's easy. This will be super straight-forward if you are a standard, salaried employee without fancy stock options or partnerships who doesn't freelance on the side. You don't own a home and aren't planning any big life changes.

What's the best way to file my taxes?
Well, a lot of people prefer e-filing. It's faster, more convenient and more secure than paper filing. You'll get confirmation within 48 hours that your tax return was received. And, you can get your refund (if you have one) deposited directly to your account within as few as 10 days. do I know if it's time to call an accountant?
It's not the end of the world, but you'll probably need to see one if you're self-employed, run a small business, have any complex investments, do business across state borders, or have executed stock options.

What are the standard deductions?
This year the standard deduction if you're single is $5,950. And if you're married, it's $11,900.

Can I get a deduction for my student loans?
You may be able to deduct up to $2,500 for the interest you paid on your student loan last year. If you did, you should have received a form 1098-E from the entity to which you paid interest.

Want to make sure you kick your taxes in the butt? Take LearnVest's quick and easy tax bootcamp.

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