Tax day, April 17, 2018, is right around the corner. Whether you complete them all at once or pulling information together to give to your tax preparer, here are a few tips to get started!
In order to be fully prepared, you should create a tax checklist which allows you to gather all the documents you will need. Make sure you take a look at irs.gov to download the latest catalog of forms and publications needed to file. You may also have these files mailed to you if necessary.
A great way to prepare for filing your taxes is to start inputting your information in early. Most tax software allows you to do this. This will make it a lot less stressful when it comes time to complete it by April.
Gather all of your important information together so when it is time to file everything you need will be in one place. If you have dependents, make sure you know their Social Security numbers. And if you are divorced, decide which parent will claim the children beforehand to prevent an audit or a delay. Also, if you have had a major life change this past year, such as a new mortgage, marriage, divorce or baby, you may need to file a new W-4.
Lastly, if you moved, update your mailing address with your employers, clients and institutions which hold your investments and bank accounts. This way forms that are sent in the mail for tax purposes are sent to the right place.
Create a file for all your forms, including W-2’s from your employer, any 1099 forms from banks, etc. You most likely have received all of these forms in the month of January. If you have received any of the forms electronically, make an electric file on your computer or print them all out to keep everything together in a physical file. If you have not received these forms yet, you should contact your employers, your bank and any other applicable companies and institutions to see when you will receive them.
Keep a copy of your previous year’s tax return, as well as any supporting information for the last three years. Even though you may have had major changes this year that are not reflected on old returns, it is important to have all the information from previous years. This will make it easier to fill out this year’s taxes.
Choose to e-file your taxes.
If you are filing your taxes on your own, consider using a free filing software from the IRS. According to the IRS, 90 percent of all tax returns are filed electronically. The ability to check for errors can help you if you are preparing your own taxes, unlike paper filing. If you get your taxes prepared by a professional, find out if they can file your return electronically.
Get your refund earlier by choosing direct deposit. By choosing to receive your return by direct deposit, it reduces the chance of your check getting lost, stole, or even declared undeliverable. Make sure that you double check the routing number and your account number when inputting your information to ensure timely delivery.