With a new year, many people are already starting to think about one of life’s certainties: federal income taxes. They’re due April 18.
To learn more about how to file your tax return, Lisa Leslie, a family and consumer sciences agent at UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, is hosting a series of free webinars. She is IRS-certified to prepare federal income taxes and can help you understand the ins and outs of filing.
Leslie offers four free webinars – open to the public — starting in January. Each class runs from 12 noon to 1 p.m.
- January 25:
- How to use a free tax-filing software
- Tax-deferred income
- February 1:
- Updates for filing your 2022 federal income tax return, including tax laws that have expired.
- February 8:
- Tax credits vs. tax deduction, refundable and non-refundable credits, standard deduction, child tax credits.
- February 15:
- How to calculate your tax bracket.
Filing taxes need not be a complex maze, Leslie said.
“Our current tax-filing system requires individuals to wade through complicated tax forms to file a return,” she said. “Tax-filing software can make the process relatively easy for most individual filers. Businesses may need the help of an experienced CPA.”
In her role as Certified Financial Planner™, Leslie hears all kinds of questions during tax season, and the most common questions are about deductions.
“There is much in the media that makes it sound like there are lots of hidden deductions,” she said. “There are no hidden deductions for individuals, but some advertisements promoting tax software insinuate there are. Most people take the standard deduction.”
Are you a tax procrastinator? You’re hardly alone. Generally, those who think they’ll owe federal income taxes wait until March or April to file their returns. Those who expect a refund usually file earlier – in January or February.
How do you know if you’re going to pay or get paid? By filling out your return.
Filing early also provides security, particularly for people who are owed a refund, Leslie said.
“The sooner you get your taxes done, the less time is available for someone to file under your name and get your refund,” she said.
Leslie’s final tip: “Understanding whether you are eligible for tax credits, deductions and your tax brackets can help you plan and avoid owing too much.”
In addition to Leslie’s program — which teaches you how to file taxes — if you want someone to help you prepare your federal income taxes, UF/IFAS provides the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program in Columbia, Hamilton, Gadsden, Wakulla, Hillsborough, Nassau, Bradford, St. Lucie and Marion counties.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.