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Featured | StudentsApril 02, 2024

Avoid Trepidation with These Tax Time Tips

Written By: Ian Silvester

The deadline to file taxes, Monday, April 15, is less than two weeks away. If you haven’t filed your federal and state taxes yet, there is still time to do so, but the deadline is quickly approaching.

At the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, accounting professor Dr. Randall Stone and assistant professor, CPA, and tax professional Diana Sims offered advice on preparing for this tax season.

Whether you file on your own through an online tool or have a tax professional assist, Sims said a you need few items are needed before doing so.

“Taxpayers should make certain they have all the tax documents (W-2s and 1099s) they received in the mail,” she explained. “They also need to look on financial websites where they have an account, like a brokerage firm, cyber-currency, eBay, PayPal, Venmo, etc., for any 1099 forms not mailed, but posted online instead.”

With all the necessary paperwork, Stone reinforced the importance of always filing taxes and being aware of important dates. The due date to file is April 15, which is separate from the payment deadline. However, to avoid penalties or paying interest fees, filing and paying any taxes due simultaneously is a good idea.

Stone suggests “seeking advice from your licensed and trusted tax advisor.”

Filing taxes can be a stressful time. Anything that seems too good to be true to help ease the burden, Stone warns, could be a scam. He said talking to a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, about your questions is a great way to navigate and understand complex tax rules and regulations.

As a student, having a tax professional help file your taxes may present a financial burden in and of itself. There are more affordable and trusted online sources. However, if you are still trying to decide which service provider to use, the IRS provides a list of partner programs that allow taxpayers who meet specific criteria to file for free. To see if you qualify, visit the “All Trusted Partners” landing page on the IRS website.

“Remember, not all partner programs also provide free filing for the required state income tax returns,” Stone pointed out. “Ensure you read the fine print relating to what exactly is provided for free before you start inputting your information.”

Before filing and as a good reminder for any time you file taxes, Sims offered the following advice:

“Taxpayers are responsible for the information submitted on their tax return, even if someone else prepares it. Therefore, they should only use a reputable tax return preparer and review the information on their return.”

It is worth noting, there are certain gross income minimums to meet to determine if you are required to file. That information can be found on the IRS website at If you have additional questions or looking for a specific form, you can also visit the Fort Smith Public Library to pick up a free hardcopy.

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