If you’re anything like me and are still adjusting to this whole, “adulting” thing then you may not know what the hell to do with that document called a W-2 you received from your boss.

The purpose of the W-2 is to report all the money you’ve made and the tax that has already been withdrawn.

If you have an income lower than $69,000, you can file for free through websites such as H&R Block or Turbotax. I’m assuming all college readers are in that boat, if not you should be giving me the advice. The free websites are also helpful because they make it more difficult to make mistakes.

Accountants can help but it can cost more money than it’s worth and they may just do what you are more than capable of doing yourself.

The first step in filing taxes is to make sure your W-2 Form is correct. Check and make sure all the information is correct as far as social security, and withholding amount. The withholding amount is how much is taken from each pay-check and which is decided by how much is made. The W-2 answers Rachel Green’s question in the first episode of Friends, “Who is FICA and why is he getting all my money?”

Next, you need to fill out a 1040. The 1040 is an IRS Form you fill out with information about your income used to file taxes. The 1040 and W-2 can be uploaded to websites such as TurboTax or H&R Block for free. When filling out these forms make sure you include any deductions you qualify for, for example donating to charity.

Once all the documents necessary are uploaded, the next step is to calculate whether or not you will owe or be owed a tax refund, which whatever tax service you go through should let you know. If you owe money it needs to be sent to the IRS or the Kansas (or wherever) Department of Revenue. A payment plan can always be made if necessary.

This year tax day falls on April 15. If it is not paid by then an addition of five or six percent interest will be added. 

For additional help, VITA services are available from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Saturdays in Cremer Hall.

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