US Taxes For Singles: How To DIY, Save Big & Pay Less Tax
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US Taxes For Singles: How To DIY, Save Big & Pay Less Tax

Are you single and need to do US Taxes? Learn from me and go from frustration to doing your taxes right with confidence.
4.6 (12 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
2,626 students enrolled
Created by Larissa Fontenot
Last updated 1/2016
Curiosity Sale
Current price: $10 Original price: $115 Discount: 91% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 4 Articles
  • 9 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • You will be able to prepare a US Tax Return for single people without dependents.
  • You will learn best practice of US tax preparation without being overwhelmed with jargon.
  • You will find out which documents you need for tax preparation and stop thinking that it's just junk mail.
  • You will discover how to report health care insurance coverage for Obamacare to avoid tax penalty.
  • You will clearly understand what tax preparation is and why it's important for you.
  • You will learn how to do US tax preparation, aka 'a federal tax return' without paying top dollar.
  • You will discover the benefits of doing tax preparation yourself.
  • You will know what expenses you can use to lower your tax bill.
  • You will discover if you must file or should file your federal tax return, aka 'do tax preparation'.
  • You will learn how to determine which part of your income is taxable and why.
  • You will understand the benefits of planning for taxes all year round.
  • You will learn how to plan for taxes so you pay less tax as you go.
View Curriculum
  • You will need your device to watch videos and read text (a desktop computer, or a laptop, or a smart phone), a note pad to take notes and ear phones (just for your convenience)

Course has been updated on 2/13/15 with a new lecture on healthcare insurance coverage Premium Tax Credit.


This course is only for people who want to spend a little bit of time learning how to do taxes and save money. If you want to pay a lot of money to someone else to do your taxes, this course is not for you.

Students of this course get to ask me any questions about tax preparation in discussion forum, I will answer as soon as I can and in many cases create extra videos for the course with the answers.

In this course you will learn:

  • How to do a US tax return a single people without dependents
  • What tax benefits you qualify for
  • How to plan for taxes so you pay less tax during the year

I will add new lectures to this course to keep it ever green and reflect the most recent tax laws, at no extra cost to you.


Do you feel puzzled and frustrated just thinking about doing taxes? Do you want to figure out how to do your taxes correctly and confidently?

Before serving my first client at H & R Block, one of the biggest tax preparation companies, I had 130 hours in class training and did tens of practice case studies. Over 75% of my clients come back to me tax season after tax season.

In this course I will teach you about tax preparation terms and concepts in plain English. You get to do a couple of case studies for practice, so by the end of my course doing your own taxes will become a familiar process, may be even fun, like it is for me – like doing a piece puzzle.

My course consists of screen cast videos (yes, you will see what I see on my screen!) and text lectures. We will go over income documents and expenses records and withholding. I will explain which tax benefits you get no questions asked, and which ones you need paperwork for. I will show you the whole tax preparation process over my shoulder.

I created this course for single people who want to save money by doing their taxes themselves rather than paying top dollar at the retailer.

If that describes you, go ahead, enroll into my course today, there is a 30 day money back guarantee.

Want a quick preview? I made of lectures available for fee to help you decide.

Give yourself a fresh start by enrolling in this life-changing course now.

Every moment you delay, you lose out. Simple as that.

All future updates to this course are free - you are "locked-in" at the current low price of $100 but you will never pay more if you enroll today at this low price.

Who is the target audience?
  • This Tax Preparation course is meant for single people. If you have never prepared taxes before or want to learn to do your taxes yourself so you can avoid high tax prep bill, this course is for you.
  • If you are a tax professional looking for resources of continues education in tax code, this course is not for you.
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
39 Lectures
Welcome To My Tax Preparation Course!
3 Lectures 04:34

Like with any training materials you need to know how to take this course on US Tax Preparation for singles so you get the most benefit from your investment of funds and time.

That's why I created this video for you to help you navigate Udemy landscape if you are completely new to this online learning platform.

I am here to help you every step of the way.

Very excited to start this journey with you.


1. Make sure you have a notebook and a pen handy - please take notes.

2. Watch all the lectures, do all case studies, download all materials, explore external links:

Once you are in a lecture, use 4 tabs to the right of the video:

4. Don't forget to turn HD button on the video player 'ON'

5. Ask questions in discussion area

6. If you like the course, please write a review so it helps other people decide to enroll into it. Here's how:

7. And last but not least, please share my course on your Facebook wall, Twitter and by Emailing your friends:

Preview 01:37

I encourage you to participate in discussions right here within the course and ask any questions you might have. I understand that everyone's situation is different and there are details which you might not want to reveal publicly.

That is exactly why I offer you to reach out to me in a private message so you can ask your questions without anyone else being able to read them.

Remember, I value you as my student and I am committed to helping you figure out your taxes.

So go ahead, ask any questions on tax preparation you might have, I am happy to answer them.

Preview 00:11

Just like with any training course, my US Tax preparation course has a final exam. I am confident that you will pass it with flying colors once you watch all the lectures in sections 2 and 3, review all downloadable materials which you can find under the second tab to the right of the video, and do both of the case studies I have provided you here. Even though I take you through the flow of the case studies in videos, go ahead and use mock up tax documents for those studies to practice. Remember – practice makes perfect. When in the case studies, once you arrive at the screen with two numbers in the top right hand corner of the software screen which show amounts of federal and state refunds or balance due, go ahead, take a screen shot of those numbers, save as an image and post in discussions area of my course as bragging rights to show other students and me that you have completed the course and practiced.

Then when you are finished doing your own tax return, do the same – take a screen shot of your tax return results, and post it in discussions.

I am looking forward to your posts, questions, and suggestions on how I can help you even more figuring out this important aspect of your finances called US Income Tax return.

Preview 02:46
Introduction To Fundamental Concepts - Who Must File? Filing Status, Exemptions.
5 Lectures 07:22

In this lecture I will give you a 'bird's eye' look at a tax preparation process. You will learn what document is referred to as tax return, and what variants of it you might encounter.

This lecture is an explanation of what a Federal Tax Return is. I also show you what document is called US Federal Tax Return, address in short all the parts of that document and show you modifications of that document which are used as well for simpler US Federal Tax returns.

The process of US Tax preparation always falls into the following steps:

1. List all income you made for the year from all sources.

2. Subtract all expenses you can claim as deductions.

3. Tax will be calculated as % of the amount above (percentage depends on the amount of money you make - there are several tax brackets).

4. Subtract all expenses you can claim as credits toward that tax.

5. Subtract amount of tax you already paid throughout the year (paycheck withholding or estimated tax paid).

6. Add any self employment tax (if you had gigs on the side).

7. Subtract expenses you can claim as refundable credits toward the tax above.

8. Your result will be either refund (if you overpaid tax) or balance due (if you underpaid tax during the year).

Your goal to be as close to ZERO as possible because IRS is not after ALL of you money, they only want the amount that you are liable for as tax.

Every tax preparation software will calculate your tax liability exactly the same way no matter if you go to a tax office or do it yourself on your own computer. There is no need to pay someone to do your taxes if you can take this course and learn how to do it correctly yourself.

Every tax preparation software will generate your tax document depending on the amount of information you need to enter. It will be either the full form called 1040, or a shorter form called 1040A, or a one page form called 1040EZ.

This is only general information on what we refer to as 'US Federal Income Tax Return' and 'doing taxes'.

Please watch the rest of the course for in depth information on all 8 steps of tax preparation.

Preview 02:55

I will introduce you to an unexpected fact - even if you don't have to do tax preparation, it could be beneficial to you.

You might be wondering who must and who should file a US Federal Tax Return.

Here are a number of simple criteria for you to check and see if any of them apply to you:

There are 5 groups of people who either live in the USA or Puerto Rico who must file depending on age and income, of course:

1. Individuals in general

2. dependents with certain income

3. Full time students or children under age 19

4. Self employed, or

5. Aliens.

If you belong to any of these groups, the next question is what are the rules for you?

It depends on the 3 factors below

  • Your filing status
  • Your gross income,
  • Your age.

The first thing you need to do is determine your filing status. Your filing status depends on if you are single or married on December 31 2014 and on your family situation.

Remember, that

If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that will give you the lowest tax. Tax preparation software will provide a prompt for you to do that.

Here's a chart with all 5 statuses and income thresholds

1. Single has to file if income is above $10,150 (younger than 65 yo) or above $11,700 (older than 65 yo)

2. Married Filing Jointly have to file is income is above:

  • $20,300 (both spouses younger than 65 yo)
  • $21,500 (one spouse is older than 65 yo)
  • $22,700 (both spouses older than 65 yo)

3. Married Filing Separately if income is above $3,950 at any age

4. Head of Household if income is above $13,050 (younger than 65 yo) or above $14,600 (older than 65 yo)

5. Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child if income is above $16,350 (younger than 65 yo) or above $17,550 (older than 65 yo)

If your income is below the numbers mentioned above, for your filing status, you do not have to do taxes, unless you paid tax and want to get it refunded to you. Even if you don’t have to do taxes according to this table, you should if you are eligible for any of the following credits.

Earned income credit.

Additional child tax credit.

American opportunity credit.

Credit for federal tax on fuels.

Health coverage tax credit.

And the last but not least note on this lecture:

Do only 1 federal tax return for each household!

It does not matter if you lived in several states or had several jobs and gigs on the side, only one federal income tax return per household is required.

Who Must and Should File a Federal Tax Return Based On Income.

Other Groups Of Persons Who Must Do Tax Preparation & File A Federal Tax Return
4 pages

Why Is Personal Exemption A Tax Break?

Overview of the Rules For Claiming Exemptions for A Dependent Child Or Relative
1 page

Tax Preparation Fundamental Concepts
4 questions
Income You've Earned And Money You've Made - What To Report In Tax Preparation
3 Lectures 02:18
Common Income Documents - It Is Crucial To Have All Of Them Handy

Make Sure You Get Familiar With Each Box On Your W2 Form - Complete Anatomy
1 page

The List Of Income Documents
2 pages

What Did You Learn From Income Section For Your Tax Preparation?
6 questions
Expenses You Can Use To Reduce Your Taxes By Adjusting Your Taxable Income
6 Lectures 10:02
List Of Expenses Documents You Need To Put Together Before Tax Preparation
1 page

Which Should You Take - Standard Deduction Or Itemized Deductions?

Deductions and credits serve the same purpose - they reduce your tax bill.

To put it in very short terms, deductions reduce your taxable income.

For example, if you are single and no one else lives with you and you don't support anyone else financially, your income from all sources like your job, your side business, interest your savings have generated, etc. equals $75,000. You are entitled to a personal exemption of $3,950 (in 2014).

You rent an apartment which means that a standard deduction you are entitled to is $6,200 (in 2014). Both of these amounts (standard deduction and personal exemption are deducted from your income to reduce it before income tax is calculated. Which brings your taxable income down to $64,850.

You paid $4,000 in student loans interest, you will qualify for a $2,500 (this is maximum) student loan interest deduction from your income, which will bring your taxable income down to $62,350. According to the income tax table before this deduction was applied, your tax would be $12,063 but after the deduction was applied the tax would be $11,438. There is definitely a reduction in tax. That's how student loan interest deduction helped you to lower your tax bill.

Now it's time to apply credits toward that tax amount. Suppose in 2014 you purchased a plug-in electric vehicle and for that reason you are qualified for Plug-In Electric Vehicle Credit of $2,500 (there are details to it depending on how powerful the vehicle battery is, but we will not go there for simplicity of calculations in this example). This credit reduces your tax from $11,438 down to $8,938 because the credit amount is subtracted directly from the amount of your tax bill. This is not the end of the calculation, of course, because most likely you've already paid some of this tax (or even higher amount of tax) through your pay check withholding, but this statement goes beyond our example the purpose of which is to compare how deductions are different from credits.

The way I see it, credits provide better tax benefits, but both - deductions and credits help to lower your tax bill, both of them are without a doubt tax benefits.

Deductions and Credits Comparison - What They Do To Give You A Smaller Tax Bill

Credits Refundable And Nonrefundable - How They Help You Lower Your Tax Bill
1 page

How It All Comes Together – Tax, Credits, SE Tax, Payments, Refund, Balance Due

If you have received a form 1095-A (Health Insurance Marketplace Statement), you might want to know how to read it.

Here is line by line explanations for your 1095-A form:

  • Line 1 contains the name of the state where you enrolled in health insurance coverage.
  • Line 2 is the number the Marketplace uses to identify the policy in which you are enrolled.
  • Line 3 contains the name of the company that holds your policy.
  • Line 4 contains your name or the name of someone in your household with health insurance coverage from the Marketplace.
  • Line 5 may show only the last 4 digits of the social security number (yours or one of your household members with health insurance coverage from the Marketplace.
  • Line 6 will be filled out if there is no Social Security number.
  • Line 7 only contains information if advanced payments are made (if the insured person is married).
  • Lines 10-11 - check start and end dates for accuracy. If you were enrolled for the whole year, you will see December 31st 2014 on this line and you must re-enroll for annual coverage each year.
  • Lines 12-15 are self explanatory.
  • Part II details information for each individual covered under the health insurance policy. If more than 5 individuals covered, you will receive additional 1095-A forms. If you enrolled into Marketplace coverage with one or more people who you don't list on your tax return (for example your children under age 26), then make sure they got a copy of this form. If during enrollment you specified that you would not list them on your tax return, then you will not see their info on this form and they will get their own form from the Marketplace.
  • Part III information is there for you to use it when completing form 8962 (Premium Tax Credit) when doing your taxes.
  • Part IIIA is the total cost of the monthly health insurance coverage premium. If you received advance tax credit payments, you may only be responsible for a portion of this total cost.
  • Part IIIB - this amount is calculated by the Marketplace. It is used to determine your monthly advanced tax credit payments and premium tax credit you get on your tax return. Keep the Marketplace informed about all change to your coverage during the year so these numbers are accurate.
  • Part IIIC - this is the amount of advanced credit payments that were made to your insurance company for all or part of your premiums. If no payments were made, this section will be blank.
How You Can Get Premium Tax Credit (PTC) - Affordable Care Act Provision For You

Time To Check If You Know How You Can Use Your Expenses As Deductions & Credits
6 questions
Case Study: Tax Preparation For A Single Person Who Has One Job And Rents A Room
6 Lectures 21:27
Meet Tom Smith - Personal Information & Paperwork For Your Practice Case Study

Tom Smith: How To Start Tax Preparation In Software On Your Computer

Tom Smith: Where To Record Income In Tax Preparation Software On Your Computer

Tom Smith: How To Record Adjustments To Income – Deductions In Tax Prep Software

Tom Smith: Where To Report Expenses To Claim Credits Get Smaller Your Tax Bill

Tom Smith: How To Print Your Tax Return For Filing On Paper After Preparation
Case Study: Tax Preparation For A Single Person With One Job, Education Expenses
6 Lectures 18:20
Meet Jane Smith - Personal Information & Paperwork For Your Practice Case Study

Let's go on the Internet now and find Tax Hawk website. I prefer this website to others for a couple of reasons - the software is full of Help topics and anyone can use it to file their federal tax return for free, regardless of income level. To file a state tax return is extremely affordable too.

So, click 'Start Free Return' button and you will see new account screen with 'Create New Account' button. Once you click on it, the software will open up a template where you can provide your e-mail address which will become your user name, create password, create security questions, and click 'Create New Account'.

The next screen will give you an overview of what kind of support you can expect from this company - tax help, technical support for the website, etc. They give you a promise to take you all the way through tax preparation process.

You are done with this step and now you are ready to start filling out your tax return.

Jane Smith: Create Software Account Online To Do Your Free Tax Preparation

Jane Smith: Where To Enter Your Income into Tax Prep Software Online

Jane Smith: Where And How To Record Education Expenses in Tax Prep Software

Jane Smith: Where And How To Record Other Expenses for Deductions and Credits

Withholding From Your Pay Check - Most Everyone Handles It Wrong
9 Lectures 12:31

How To Check Your Withholding Using A Pay Check Stub - The Easy Way

Why Do You Have To Have Withholding From Your Pay Check
1 page

Withholding Is Too High - Find Out How You Can Use W4 To Have Higher Paycheck

Withholding Is Too Low - Find Out How To Use W4 To Avoid Balance Due At Tax Prep

Adjusting Withholding For The New Year Once You Have Caught Up With Tax In 2014

How To Fill Out A New W4 Correctly - Step By Step Instructions To Make It Easy

Do This One Thing From Now On - Withholding Management As You Go All Year Long
1 page

At What Point Do You Start To Consider Estimated Taxes Payments For Freelancers?
1 page

Withholding Management
1 question
Wrap Up
1 Lecture 00:31
Congratulations! You Are Now Ready To Do Your Taxes With Confidence.
About the Instructor
Larissa Fontenot
3.6 Average rating
41 Reviews
5,633 Students
4 Courses
US Tax Advisor, Excel Productivity Trainer, Udemy Instructor

First of all, let me acknowledge you for looking online trying to learn things which will improve your life. So many people just spend their time in front on TV, but not you. You are searching for the ways to make your life better.

I am Larissa Fontenot. I am originally from Russia, moved to the US in 2000.

I have 4 years of experience doing taxes for clients who are self employed, with home ownership, purchase, or sale, real estate rentals or vacation homes, ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) application, health care expenses (e.g. medical, dental), charitable giving, military, investment/stock options,clergy, tax planning.

After having done hundreds of returns in the retail office at a big household name company and additional 173 hours of continues training (63 hours of which were in class), I have created US Taxes courses to help you see the forest behind the trees – the big picture that comes together like a puzzle out of all details of your financial situation.

As complicated as tax code is, I still can explain fundamental concepts to you in layperson language, so you can learn to confidently do your taxes yourself.

I can promise you, that it is quite possible to understand what goes into the calculation of your tax liability and take the mystery out of tax preparation: short 7 years ago I decided to make some extra money doing tax returns from people because I'd just gone through a divorce and had never done my taxes myself, as I am originally from Russia, and my American husband always took our tax paperwork to H & R Block. That's exactly why I looked into this company for extra work - little did I know, they had training available! So I successfully graduated from that training course after over 130 hours in class training and dozens of practice case studies done.

I am positive, I can teach you how to do your own taxes yourself correctly too. Thank you for checking out my courses!


I also enjoy teaching Excel productivity hacks. At my job they call me 'Excel Queen'.

I learned everything I know in Excel while working on projects for my jobs since September 1997. From creating graphs for engineers back in Russia, to doing sales analysis for a Consumer Packaged Goods company in the US - I enjoy my Excel projects as they provide challenge to learn more and improve my skills.

The more I learned Excel, the better paying jobs I had. The company I work for regularly sends me to run Excel training sessions in different parts of Southeast US for groups of sales managers. Now I conduct Excel training for the company in class and via webinars.

Teaching is the second nature to me as I graduated from Perm State Humanitarian Pedagogical University (PSHPU) in Russia, which trains students how to be teachers.

I enjoy showing people how they can do the same amount of work in Excel they spend hours, and sometimes days doing, in just minutes. My Excel course came to life because I want more people to work in Excel more efficiently, be less tired at the end of the day so that their families can enjoy them, and they too can enjoy spending time with their loved ones and not be tired of fighting with software which in fact, can be their friend and do their work for them.

I am looking forward to answering the questions you have in discussion forum.

Your success is my goal!