Don’t forget: Your tax forms are in the mail

Kate Mckenna

Kate Mckenna

Around this time of year, many students are busy thinking about midterms, upcoming graduation, and spring break. But there is one thing that is often overlooked and nearly forgotten until the last minute.

Tax season, a time when many people feel the extra squeeze after a year of hard-earned wages, is upon us.

It is often said that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. I can’t possibly prepare you for the former, but I can give you some helpful tips on the latter so that you aren’t wishing for death when you’re finished with your taxes.

If you are like sophomore student Lisa Atkinson, your parents have always filed your taxes for you, but you realized that it may be time to change your ways. “It would be nice to do my own taxes because my parents have done them my whole life. It’s probably something I’m going to have to know when I go out into the real world,” she says.

The first part of receiving a W-2 form comes from your employer. According to Colleen Schwartz, a small business owner in Sioux Falls, the law states that all W-2s must be mailed out by Jan. 31. The process of adding time cards and printing checks takes from six to eight hours for her nearly 50 employees. She adds, “… and you better have your ducks in a row because you never know when the printer is going to screw up or other such things, which is why I want a few days to get all the data entered into the computer.”

Once you open your official-looking envelope containing a conclusive amount of the money you have earned for the year, including taxes paid for social security and Medicare, there are three ways in which to file the paper to receive your refund. By accessing the IRS website ( you can find three ways to quickly and easily file a return. The only tough choice is deciding which method is the best for you.

The first is by logging on to the Internet and making use of a tax software program. There are many programs on the market, which can be useful for filing a return. The benefits of using this type of software are many. First, of course, is that you can file your return in the middle of the night, in your underwear, if you want to. Also, you can receive your refund in as little as ten days. Also, once you send the data, you will get a confirmation or denial for the transaction. If you happen to have made a mistake and are denied, the software helps with any corrections that need to be made.

Free file is a service provided “through a public-private partnership between the IRS and the tax software industry.” Through this method, eligible taxpayers can prepare and file taxes using software provided by companies who are partnered with the IRS.

With this plan, benefits range from receiving a faster return and eliminating any third party.

Telefile is the third and possibly most convenient way to file a tax return. It requires only a touch-tone phone and ten minutes of your time. This technique offers an 80 percent satisfaction rate and the luxury of having a computer do all the math for you.

It may seem hard at first, but filing your taxes can give you a sense of accomplishment and maturity. A painful death may not necessarily be avoidable, but now you are prepared to file your taxes almost effortlessly. All tax returns must be submitted by April 15!