The 2020 tax season is here, and that means everyone is getting ready for the arduous task of filing their income tax returns. This is often a difficult task, and it hasn’t got any easier with recent tax reforms. If you feel nervous about filing your taxes, however, taking a class to learn how to file your taxes correctly may be a wise move. Udemy’s “How To Prepare Your Taxes” aims to take the stress out of filing your taxes by doing just this, and it’s been updated as recently as February 2019 with the most recent tax changes.
Throughout the course, the instructor goes over the papers you would use to fill out your tax return by hand. Each line of the form is discussed line by line with few exceptions. The instructor doesn’t waste time explaining things like the name and address boxes, as these are self-explanatory, but few other lines are skipped.
The topic of dependents and filing status is covered in exceptional detail early on in the course, and I found this section be highly informative. The instructor doesn’t just say if you have a child you have a dependent; instead, the lecture goes into more detail explaining the amount of financial aid you provide for the child in order to claim them as a dependent. The course also covers details such as how much income a family member living in your household can earn before they no longer can be claimed as a dependent. (Apparently this bar is set at $4,500.)
Of the next several sections the course goes over reading and understanding W-2 forms and how to properly report income you earned from various sources including interest, dividends, capital gains and losses, and retirement income. Afterward, the lecturer discusses the importance of using itemized deductions or standardized deductions, and this is followed up with information on tax credits and various other smaller topics.
If you’re looking to better understand the tax forms that you need to fill out each year, then Udemy’s “How To Prepare Your Taxes” course is an excellent source of information. It’s not ideal for everyone, though. If you work for a company or are retired, then these classes will likely prove useful while filing your taxes. But the course is less useful to freelancers, those that are self-employed, and small businesses. If you fall into one of these categories, as I do, then filing your taxes is a more complicated affair and this lecture simply doesn’t go over that. I’d still recommend the course, as I found no issues with it, but only if you are employed directly by a company.
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