Tis the season! No, not that season. Think less presents & cookies and more paperwork & calculators. That’s right, it’s Tax Season.
With tax season upon us, here are a few things to keep in mind to make things easier on you during this time of the year.
The first thing to keep in mind is to not wait until the last minute. The deadline is April 15th, but tax professionals would actually like to start to work on your taxes in February. The sooner you act on getting your taxes done, the sooner you can receive your refund.
Staying organized will help things run more smoothly when it comes time for your tax filing. Keep track of your important documents throughout the year, especially when Tax Day approaches. Pay special attention to the tax forms that you receive in the mail. As April 15th approaches, you will receive various pieces of information in the mail that you will need when filing taxes like your W2. You’ll want to hang on to these forms and other forms such as 1099s, distributions and tuition forms (1098-T). Also, if you had a healthcare subsidy, you must include that information in your tax return. This comes from form 1095-A. If you don’t have that information yet, visit or contact healthcare.gov and navigate to their 1095-A page.
Staying organized is good not only for you, but also your tax preparer. As pedantic of a task as keeping accurate financial records throughout the year may seem, it outweighs the stress and problems that can come about from scrambling at the last minute to get everything together. Once you have all of your most relevant documents, you are ready to decide where you will go to get your taxes done.
Make sure to do your research when deciding on where you will go to get your taxes done if you choose to not do them yourself. Find someone that won’t break the bank but will still get you the best refund possible. There are many resources available online to help make your decision such as the IRS tax preparer search page. You can use this website to find tax preparers in your area who possess a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), the credentials recognized by the IRS or an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion. If you are 60 or older, you are eligible for AARP’s free tax assistance program. According to their website, AARP coordinates the largest, free, volunteer-run tax service in the nation. The AARP service can help with forms like the 1040 (Individual Income Tax Return).
The information available in your tax return about you and your family is sensitive and personal. Most of us wouldn’t casually tell a stranger about our income, social security number or other personal information. When picking a tax preparer, make sure that you truly trust them with your information.
To save your time and money, you need to act early when it comes to your taxes. It is a yearlong process and at times can seem tedious, but neglecting this task can cost you more in the long run. Keep accurate records and start thinking about filing your taxes before April 15th rolls around; think of getting your taxes done around February or March instead. Hang on to your relevant information like receipts throughout the year and pay close attention to your mail starting in January for other important forms. If you’re not going to use a service like TurboTax to do your taxes yourself, pick the right tax preparer that benefits you.