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Tips for filing your own income taxes

The April 15 deadline to file your taxes is less than a month away, and according to a recent report from the Internal Revenue Service, close to 27.4 million people have already prepared their own taxes – a 6 percent increase over last year.

According to Georgia Regents University Accounting Professor Joey Styron, filing your own taxes does not have be overwhelming. He recommends these tips to help you finish on time and maximize your refund.

•  File your taxes sooner, rather than later: Don’t wait until the last minute to file. Rushing to meet the deadline will only increase your chances of making an error, and you may even overlook possible tax savings.

•  File on time: According to the IRS, if you anticipate that you will owe taxes when you file, you should still file by April 15. Paying as much as you can will minimize penalties and interest charges.

•  Keep good records: Before you file, get organized. Have your W-2s, 1099s, receipts, and any other applicable records, such as donations to charitable organizations. Also, review your checkbook, credit card statements, and bank statements and create a list of items that could be considered deductibles.

•  E-filing: Opting to file your taxes online can save you a lot of hassle. Many software programs will do the calculations for you, and some even have audit protection tools built-in, which help you find mistakes before you submit your return.

Get a jump on the next tax season: Filing your own taxes gives you an inside look into where your money is going. Begin making financial adjustments now so you can increase your chances of getting a larger return next year.