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Whether someone can do their own taxes is an interesting question. The U.S. tax code gets more and more complicated with each passing year. Another year, another set of rules added to the previous set of rules.

If you have a very simple and straightforward tax situation, with a job, a house, and a family, it might be fairly easy for you to fill out your forms online with the help of TurboTax or one of the free filing programs offered by various companies. But once you add things like self-employment income, distributions from retirement funds, capital gains taxes, and any of a zillion of other items that must go on your tax returns, it's probably too complicated for the average person.

When in doubt, get some help. If you can't afford to hire a tax preparer, many cities have volunteer tax assistance programs offered through local colleges or non-profit organizations. See if there is one available near you.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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TurboTax Articles

Amending Your Income Tax Return

What if you've sent in your income tax return for a previous year and then discover you made a mistake? You can make things right by filing an amended tax return. And, don't think an amended return will automatically cost you money; it's perfectly okay to change a return to capture a tax break you missed the first time around.

How to File Taxes with IRS Form 1099-MISC

If you receive tax form 1099-MISC for services you provide to a client as an independent contractor and the annual payments you receive total $400 or more, you'll need to file your taxes a little differently than a taxpayer who only receives regular employment income reported on a W-2.

What If I Did Not File My State Taxes?

At the time of this writing, the only states that do not charge a state income tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. If you live or earn money in one of the other 41 states or the District of Columbia, you may need to file a state income tax return by April 15. It is a separate and independent requirement from filing your federal tax return and failure to file it on time may result in interest and penalty charges.

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