help-im-in-debt-bills-image

File your taxes online

Know your income bracket and file online quickly and easily.

Your tax return covers the financial year, which starts from January 1 to December 31 of each year. Most adults need to file a tax return, which are due by April 15 each year.

Whether you have income or not, if you are over the age of 18 and not a dependent of someone else, you are required to file a tax return. Roughly 12 million people filed for extensions in 2014, though, so if you need more time, you can get it.

How do I submit my tax return online?

If you’re confident you’d like to complete your return yourself, follow these steps to file online.

Step 1: Choose an online provider to file with

Most brand name tax return software has a free e-file version for simple taxes such as a Form 1040. If you have multiple assets, complicated deductions or credits (such as taking an energy efficiency credit, or filing a business return) you may need to pay a fee.

You can file directly with the US government by using their Free File software or fillable forms. Please note if you use the Free File fillable forms, you will not receive any guidance or instruction, so make sure you’re comfortable with your tax knowledge before choosing this method.

Step 2. Sign up and begin your returns

Most tax services such as HR Block or TurboTax will walk you through each step of the process, showing you exactly how to fill out the various form fields. The prompts also cover life events and how they are incorporated into your return, such as buying a house or car.

Oftentimes tax assistance with these services is not covered under the free versions, so be sure you budget in extra help if you need it.

Step 3. Double check everything before you submit

Most services will go back through your return and alert you of any discrepancies or red flags that might need to be addressed before you submit. Once you double check all of your forms, you will pay for the service and hit “submit”. The service then submits your tax return directly to the IRS and you receive tracking information on how to check in on your return.

What services can help me file my taxes online?

There are several tax specialists that could help you with your return. We’ve reviewed them individually, so click on any one company to be taken to their page.

Details Features
HR Block
HR Block
File simply and securely with tax software from Block. Easy to use Go to site More info
TurboTax Tax Preparation Software
TurboTax Tax Preparation Software
Taxes done smarter, together. Federal Free Edition Go to site More info
LibertyTax
LibertyTax
Choose from EZ, Basic, Deluxe, and Premium packages to support the simplest or the most complicated of returns; including business and investments.
  • Live chat support
  • Transfer your information from another type of software
  • Solutions for individuals, families, investors or businesses.
Go to site More info

How much tax do I pay?

The amount of tax you pay generally depends on how much you earn and how much tax you’ve paid so far throughout the year, either through your paycheck or if you’re an independent contractor, through estimated quarterly payments. The average tax refund in the United States was $2,843 for individuals in 2014, another reason to get familiar with all your qualified deductions.

The IRS has released information for tax brackets for the 2017 tax year — where do you fall?

Tax brackets for individual filers for tax year 2017

If your taxable income is between:You will owe this much tax:
$0 – $9,32510% of taxable income
$9,326 – $37,950$932.50 + 15% of income over $9,325
$37,951 – $91,900$5,226.25 + 25% of income over $37,950
$91,901 – $191,650$18,713.75 + 28% of income over $91,900
$191,651 – $416,700$46,643.75 + 33% of income over $191,650
$416,701 – $418,400$120,910.25 + 35% of income over $416,700
$418,400 and above$121,505.25 + 39.6% of income over $418,400

Tax brackets for married couples filing separately for tax year 2017

If your taxable income is between:You will owe this much tax:
$0 – $9,32510% of taxable income
$9,326 – $37,950$932.50 + 15% of income over $9,325
$37,951 – $76,550$5,226.25 + 25% of income over $37,950
$76,551 – $116,675$14,876.25 + 28% of income over $76,550
$116,676 – $208,350$26,111.25 + 33% of income over $116,675
$208,351 – $235,350$56,364 + 35% of income over $208,350
$235,351 and above$65,814 + 39.6% of income over $235,350

Tax brackets for married couples filing jointly for tax year 2017

Includes surviving spouses

If your taxable income is between:You will owe this much tax:
$0 – $18,65010% of taxable income
$18,651 – $75,900$1,865 + 15% of income over $18,650
$75,901 – $153,100$10,452.50 + 25% of income over $75,900
$153,101 – $233,350$29,752.50 + 28% of income over $153,100
$233,351 – $416,700$52,222.50 + 33% of income over $233,350
$416,701 – $470,700$112,728 + 35% of income over $416,700
$470,701 and above$131,628 + 39.6% of income over $470,700

Tax brackets for heads of household for tax year 2017

If your taxable income is between:You will owe this much tax:
$0 – $13,35010% of taxable income
$13,351 – $50,800$1,335 + 15% of income over $13,350
$50,801 – $131,200$6,952.50 + 25% of income over $50,800
$131,201 – $212,500$27,052.50 + 28% of income over $131,200
$212,501 – $416,700$49,816.50 + 33% of income over $212,500
$416,701 – $444,550$117,202.50 + 35% of income over $416,700
$444,551 and above$126,950 + 39.6% of income over $444,550

Should I DIY or get professional help?

Weigh a few factors to help make your decision:

  • How complicated your return is. If your tax return is straightforward, then submitting it online may be easier. Even if you have had a major life event such as having a baby or buying a house, tax software should be able to walk you through it. However, if you have many assets or have bought or sold multiple investments and don’t have time to go through the paperwork, then using an accountant may help from an organization and detail standpoint. You wouldn’t want to miss a form, or leave a deduction off the table.
  • Your budget for fees. Usually a tax agent will charge a flat fee or charge based on a tiered scale. In most cases, your tax agent can make the fee worth it, by saving you more on your tax return.
  • Your confidence in your own financial know how. The IRS regularly audits tax returns to ensure they’re compliant and follow the law. Tax regulations are always changing and if your tax return is not considered to be compliant, there are serious penalties including fines and potentially jail time. However, the IRS only audits about 1% of tax returns each year, and with the rise of more e-filing that number is dropping. As long as you aren’t claiming anything you shouldn’t, you won’t have anything to worry about if an auditor comes knocking.

Which type of return is best for who?

You should know based on your income and type what kind of tax return you should fill out, but if you’re new to this there are several categories that you might fit into.

  • Individual tax returns. These are returns mainly for personal cases who are employed and earn an income. This also includes those who are self-employed or contractors.
  • Partnership tax returns. These are returns for businesses in a partnership structure.
  • Company tax returns. These are returns for private companies, but have more than two people in the company structure.
  • Trust tax returns. Trusts have different tax regulations and rates. The trustee is typically responsible for submitting the tax return.
  • Corporate tax returns. These returns are to be filed by a corporation (typically listed on a stock exchange) and need to be audited by a third party.

If you’re reading this, it’s most likely that you’re an individual, but if you’re filing on behalf of a business or company then it may be best to seek professional advice.

Your tax questions answered

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BonnieApril 12, 2017

    Hi there, I have one child and I made 14,300 for the year however I did not receive any w2 s because the work was under household employee and each of the jobs were under 2000? What can I get back in refund?

    • Staff
      HaroldAugust 3, 2017Staff

      Hi Bonnie,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      The average tax refund in the United States was $2,843 for individuals in 2014, but there is no guarantee you’ll receive this amount. Your refund depends both on your income bracket and also your withholding amount throughout the year.

      Follow these steps to file your taxes:
      Step 1: Choose an online provider to file with
      Step 2. Sign up and begin your returns
      Step 3. Double check everything before you submit

      You can further check here at section “How do I submit my tax return online?”

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold