Budgeting & Saving

3 Tax Tips for Procrastination Prone Millennials

This post is part of the TaxACT #BeatTheDeadline blog tour which shares tips on how to make tax time a smooth and easy process before the April 15deadline. TaxACT provides the tools and guidance to help you confidently file taxes easy and fast. Do your own taxes today at TaxACT. You got this.

Are you a millennial do it yourself-er that has a hard time with deadlines? And by that I mean, were you planning to do your taxes early on and for some reason the date has crept up on you? I realize that life gets in the way sometimes. And tax season is no different. If you still have to file your taxes, here are 3 simple tips for you; the procrastination prone millennial.

Pull Together All Tax-Related Documents

Take a few hours to organize. Get your W-2, 1099, student loan interest forms, dividend and interest paperwork, and any other tax related document that came in over the last few months. With all of these documents in front of you, it will be easier to cover all of your bases.

Any employers should have placed your W-2 in the mail by January 31st. Student loan interest forms typically arrive shortly afterwards, around early to mid February. Dividend and interest forms may come at a later date; however you can estimate the expected dollar amount using your monthly bank statements. Some investment companies have agreements in place to allow you to import your information directly into your tax filing software. For example, if you have an automated investment account with Betterment, you can import all of your gain and loss data directly into the TaxAct software.

Get Your Education Perks

As a millennial, you are likely either in college or have started paying back any loans from college. If neither of these situations describes you, keep reading, because you may have some education perks coming to you anyway.

Some college students are eligible for Education Tax Credits, while others will be eligible for a tax deduction based on education spending.

American Opportunity Credit: This was set to expire at the end of 2010 but was extended for an additional seven years through December 2017 by the American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012. The full credit is available to individuals whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less, or $160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels.

If you do not qualify for the American Opportunity Credit, you may qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit. You cannot take the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit for the same student in the same year.
Lifetime Learning Credits: This credit can help pay for undergraduate, graduate and professional degree courses – including courses to improve job skills – regardless of the number of years in the program. Eligible taxpayers may qualify for up to $2,000 per tax return.

Use the Electronic Filing Option

Mailing tax forms is not the right strategy for a procrastinator. What if you make it to the post office too late or you forget a stamp? Instead, choose to electronically file your taxes, known as E-file. This will allow you to quickly and easily submit your taxes.

Not sure if you need to file taxes? Check out The Ultimate Tax Guide for Millennials for the answer.

Beating the tax deadline doesn’t have to be stressful. With TaxACT, everything you need to confidently prepare and e-file your taxes is right at your fingertips. You got this. File your simple or complex federal return FREE today with TaxACT Free Edition.

Originally posted 2015-04-09 02:00:13.


3 Ways to Ruin Your Career

If you want to succeed in your first job, there are a few key rules you should follow: be punctual, polite, and professional. However, the list of things you shouldn’t do is rarely written down, and it’s a fine line. Here are three rules you shouldn’t break when you start out in your first job. Think of them as the written rules of what not to do as you begin your professional career!

1) Dressing Too Casually

Sure, you’ve probably heard about artistic or tech jobs that don’t care if you wear jeans and a t-shirt to work every day. What they don’t mention is that almost every profession has times when you must dress to impress. Specifically, you should dress well when you are presenting at meeting or when you’re meeting with a director or someone important in your company. Not dressing to impress can be indicative of your attitude toward your job, whether or not that is true. Don’t let people assume you care about your job as little as you care about your attire.

The bottom line: Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. If you would like to be in the director’s chair, watch how she or he dresses and mimic that style. Show him/her that you know the culture and style, and you’ll be noticed – in a good way.

2) Blaming Others

Sometimes you just won’t know how to do things, particularly if you are starting out in a new job. If you make a mistake, you might be tempted to blame a coworker for not giving better instructions, or your supervisor for not providing training. Instead of owning up to your mistakes and asking for constructive criticism, you blame others and cast them in a bad light. Do this often enough, and people will avoid helping you or, worse, resent you.

The bottom line: Own up to any mistakes you made, but ask for help. If you made an error on an assignment because your supervisor did not give clear instructions, instead of blaming his/her communication style, ask for ways to improve communication. Note that you’re an entry level employee who wants to provide good work, done right the first time. That positive and eager attitude will impress your supervisor – and keep you in good standing among your coworkers.

3) Resisting Change

You may have joined your new company based on your boss’ reputation as a stellar communicator and mentor, only to find she was on the retirement track and will retire in three months. Software you’ve been using for months and Excel at may be phased out and replaced with something more complicated. Either way, complaining and resisting these changes does nothing but make you miserable. There will be enough other people in your company who also loathe the changes, and misery loves company. Don’t let yourself be dragged into a complaining spiral – it will only make you less productive and less likely to be seen as a team player.

The bottom line: Change happens. You will deal without it throughout your entire career, so look at the changes happening early in your career as a time to learn and improve your skills. That new, complicated software? Embrace the change and learn a new system. You never know if your next job will require that skillset, and you may be one of the few employees who know how to use it. New manager? Be open-minded about what you can learn from him/her. If you’re seen as someone adaptable to change, you’re likely to be given more responsibility and projects – which will get you noticed by others in your organization for something positive.

Originally posted 2015-03-26 10:00:55.


Why You Should Take an Internship

Speaking from experience, an internship right out of college was NOT what I wanted. I had done internships in college to gain experience. I paid my dues, studied hard, got excellent grades, several degrees, honors, the list goes on. I was ready to jump into the workforce full strength.

When I found a job I liked after graduation, they offered me a 3-month internship to start out. At the end of the 12 weeks, I was to be evaluated and possibly extended a full-time offer. I hated the uncertainty of it. I hated the idea of being a meager intern straight out of college. I really didn’t want to take it.

And yet, the job sounded like a perfect fit. If the company felt confident enough to offer me an internship, why not just give me the full-time job? I struggled for days over the decision. Finally, I accepted. And guess what? A year later, I’m still there.

Don’t get me wrong, there were things I hated about it at first. Primarily, the pay. It was significantly lower than a full-time salary. I also hated the title and the impression it gave. And I hated that after all my time and effort, I may not have a job at the end.

Eventually, though, I started to realize the benefits of the internship. I began to understand why the company chose this process to hire new grads. And I’m here today to share some of those insights with you:

An internship is a cultural test run… for both parties.

You probably knew this already, but never understood how important this is. Organizational culture is one of the most important intangibles that drive a business. One wrong pieces and the whole structure could come crashing down. Internships are a way for you to test out your fit with the organization, but also for the organization to test you out.

What if the job description doesn’t match what you’re actually doing?

You can put things down on paper, but that doesn’t make them true. A job description is someone’s best effort at putting your position into words, but the actual work you do may vary from the description. The last thing you want to do is find this out after you’ve been sucked into a full-time job. An internship is your time to test out the job and see if it’s what you expected.

Are you actually qualified for this job?

We never know how prepared we are for the real world until we’re in it. Internships help the company determine if your qualifications match what is required by the job. Sometimes, this might not always match up and that’s okay! It’s better to go somewhere else and get experience than waste time in a job where you’re in over your head.

As I said before, I really didn’t want to take an internship out of college. But actually experiencing it made me realize how valuable it is as an experience. Don’t disregard a job just because it starts out as an internship. It may turn into something great for you.

What was your internship experience like?

Originally posted 2015-03-23 10:00:00.