Slacker’s Syllabus: A newbie’s guide to filing your taxes

Illustrated green calculator, with an error on it.
Illustration: Lorenza Centi
Originally Published: 
Filing your taxes for the first time is stressful.

Before you start spiraling, though, some words of reassurance: “As a young person, it’s actually pretty easy,” especially if you’ve been checking in on your finances throughout the year, so you know what tax documents to expect, says Mary Beth Storjohann, a certified financial planner and founder of financial education and empowerment platform Workable Wealth. Even if you haven’t stayed on top of your finances as much as you would’ve liked, Storjohann says you still have options.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to doing your taxes.


The 2021 federal income tax filing deadline for all states except Maine and Massachusetts, which have an April 19 deadline. To confirm when you need to file your state income tax return, Storjohann suggests Googling “2021 tax filing deadline, [your state].”