Taxes 101: A tax guide for beginners

Taxes can be intimidating — especially if you’re new to filing. It may feel like you need to know all about taxes the minute you become an adult. But, let’s be real — you don’t.

Our take: Getting a handle on a few tax basics can help you crush your taxes with confidence.

Breaking down taxes for beginners

So, how do taxes work anyway? Luckily, you don’t have to be a tax expert to file your return. Whether you’re a first-time tax filer or have already filed a couple of returns, we’re here to help!

Get ready for a crash course in taxes 101, where we’ll cover these essentials:

  • Where (and when) do you start?
  • What determines how you’re taxed?
  • How can you pay less?
  • Tax uh-oh? What to do now

File confidently with H&R Block Online

Did you know filers with simple tax situations can file for free? It’s true! Learn more about how easy it is to file with H&R Block Online.

File online

Do your taxes from a smartphone or computer. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

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When (and where) do I start?

Surprise! Tax season doesn’t start the same day each year and not everyone has to file a tax return.

For most, your tax journey starts with W-2s, sent in January, or other forms relevant to you.

What determines how you’re taxed?

Each year, two major things determine your tax picture: the tax filing status you choose (based on your life situation) and the tax bracket you fall into (based on your income).

Oh, and fun fact! Did you know how you fill out your W-4 impacts the size of your paycheck and your refund? 

What is it like to file with Block?

Hear from two tax newbies, Rachel and Domonic, about their tax filing experience with H&R Block.  

How can you pay less?

No one wants to pay more taxes than they should. So, if you qualify for a tax break (like tax deductions and credits), claim them!

These tax benefits are tied to details of your life situation. Sound complicated? No worries, we’ll help you find every tax break you deserve.

Tax uh oh? What to do now

Tax flubs happen. Whether you ran out of time, missed the tax deadline, or received a letter from the IRS, taxes can sometimes be a legit source of stress. Don’t worry, we got you.