The Basics on Taxes | theSkimm

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The story

It’s tax season. Time to get all your stuff in order.

Fine, let's do this.

Great. Here are the dates you need to know:

April 17: The Big One. The last day to file your tax return. If you need to hit snooze, file this guy. This is also the last day to get as much as you can into an IRA for 2017 – a way to save for retirement. If you’re self-employed, today’s the day you gotta pay the government your first round of estimated taxes for 2018.

June 15, September 17:  If you’re self-employed or doing things like contract work, mark these days in your cal. Not so fun fact: you have to pay the government estimated taxes throughout the year. 

October 15: Oh hey, late filers. You knew this day was coming. If you asked for a six-month extension to file your tax return, here we are. 

What forms do I need?

1040...the individual tax return. This is the form where you put down what you made that year and some details about your personal situation. That helps you and the gov settle who needs to Venmo whom. And how much. Many people need to fill this one out.

W-2...the one your company’s accountant handled. It shows how much of your paycheck they withheld to send in estimated taxes to the government. You should have gotten a copy in the mail back in January. You’re going to want to reference this when filing your return.

1099...the types of forms you use for any side-hustle cash you’re making (think: babysitting, tutoring, freelance work). Also, time to write down things like interest on investments or dividends. You go, Glenn-vesting Coco.

1095...the healthcare one. If you get healthcare through your company, it sent you forms to reference, like this one or this one.If you bought it through the gov marketplace, here’s what you do.

1098…if you’re paying off a mortgage or student loans, have this by your side.

Does everyone have to file?

Nope. If you make below a certain amount (ex. $10,400 if you’re under 65 and single), you get a pass. But you still may be eligible for tax refunds and credits, so it’s up to you if you wanna get in on the Tax Day spirit.

Ok, I have all my forms. Now what?

Fill them out and send them off. There are a couple of ways to do that: by mailon the IRS website, through sites like TurboTax, or – if you decide you want more help – an accountant can take care of it.


No one said doing your taxes was fun. But you’ll feel better when it’s over. Mark your calendars and get your forms in order. You got this.