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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The college student’s guide: How to Tax Day

    Dave Dugdale (CC BY 2.0)

    While Tax Day may seem scary to most folks, students can avoid the extra stress and file their own taxes online.

    “No taxation without representation” was the rallying cry of many of our American forefathers. Centuries later, the United States now has representation and therefore plenty of taxes. Thanks, forefathers.

    Contrary to popular belief, April 18 is perhaps the most important day of the year (not to be confused with April 15, perhaps the most important day of last year). It represents our American history, the battles we’ve won and lost, and the beautiful struggles of modern day society. It is better known as Tax Day.

    It is normal to have mixed feelings about such an eventful day.

    “It seems like an arbitrary day,” said Caitlin Brenton, a junior studying English and biology

    Brenton explained there is some sense to the day because of fiscal timelines. But to others, Tax Day brings out an emotional response.

    “I feel pressure,” said Jasmine Martinez, a freshman studying ecology, evolutionary biology and anthropology. “It feels like an assignment that’s due that I just procrastinated on.”

    As wee college students torn away from the bosoms of their parents, it may be confusing to take on Tax Day. It is now your turn to stress about taxes as the deadline is coming.

    There are many reasons why you should do your taxes.

    “Isn’t it against the law not to?” Brenton said.

    Yes, it is illegal not to file your taxes. So if you want to avoid a hefty fine on top of everything you already owe the government, take a moment to consider filing your taxes.

    The agency responsible for keeping track how people do taxes is the Internal Revenue Service. They’re a scary bunch.

    Martinez expressed her trepidation about the government agency.

    “It’s like they’re out to get me,” Martinez said.

    Not everything about Tax Day has to be bleak and full of despair, though. The most appealing reason to do your taxes is the possibility of earning money back. Because the government may or may not over or under tax you on your income, there are such things as tax returns and additional payments.

    “The only reason I do them is to get money,” Martinez said.

    Filing taxes is part of your civic duty, so remember it is not all about you.

    “Taxes are necessary, because otherwise things would fall apart,” Brenton said.

    Roadways, public schooling and many other commodities are paid for by state taxes. When filing, be sure to file both state and federal taxes. For college students, the most essential part of filing taxes is the W2 form, which is received from your place of work.

    As for the actual act of filing taxes, the secret to success is using a website. Martinez used H&R Block, whereas Brenton opted for TurboTax. Pick your poison, because there are plenty of websites and consultants out there to choose from. You’ll have your taxes done in no time!

    Just remember, doing your taxes is a learning process.

    “I don’t even know if I did them right,” Martinez said.

    This proves that even the pros have doubts and rely on actual paid professionals to be told they’re doing it right.

    Follow Monica Kothe on Twitter.

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