How you doin' (your taxes)?

Is filing your taxes annoying? Yes. But the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can forget about it.
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I'm going to ruin Joey from Friends with a lame meme. Ready?

It's officially time to start asking yourself that sigh-inducing question. Both the state of Minnesota and federal IRS are accepting tax returns starting today (Monday, Jan. 23).

Is filing your taxes annoying? Yes. But the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can forget about it. And the sooner you can get your refund money (and then be sad a week later when you realize you blew through it already.)

Here's a quick look at how you can file – including for free – plus a few other things you should keep in mind.

Where can I file my taxes?

Remember, you have to file taxes with the USA, as well as the state of Minnesota.

Paper is still an option for both, and here are directions for the Minnesota return (including where it needs to be mailed). You can also bring it to a tax preparation place and pay to have someone do the returns for you.

But if you want something that's straightforward and will generally walk you through the process, e-filing is the way to go. There is a list of Minnesota-approved sites/software options here, and the IRS has a list too.

The state's Department of Revenue says more than 2 million Minnesotans did an e-file last year.

I don't want to pay to file my return

There's a good chance you don't have to.

As long as you made less than $64,000 last year, you can use a free file software.

Here's the IRS list – it includes TaxAct, some H&R Block services, TurboTax, and nine other options. The Minnesota Department of Revenue also has a list here. These are the ones the state has certified as being OK to do your Minnesota taxes through.

Some of the sites offer free federal returns, but make you pay for the state returns. Others offer both for free if you meet certain criteria. Check a few sites, do some comparing, and pick one you think makes sense for you.

What next?

Follow the directions, fill out what it asks you to fill out.

Once you hit submit, if everything looks OK, you'll get an email saying your federal and/or state returns have been accepted.

Done. Now what?

If you're getting a refund, track it.

You can check the status of your federal refund here.

Check the status of your Minnesota refund here.

Direct deposit tends to get you your money the fastest. They can mail you a check though, if you prefer.

Meanwhile, if you owe taxes, make sure to pay them. Here's the Minnesota link. And here's the federal link.

The deadline

The IRS has a look at changes for 2017, plus some other information that's good to know here. And Minnesota has plenty of FAQs and other state-specific information here.

The deadline to file your tax returns is Tuesday, April 18.

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