Its that time of year again for tax preparation. This can be very overwhelming and very stressful! Here are a few tips and resources to get you through.
- Start with baby steps and early March is the best time to start.
- Set up sessions for yourself for one or two hours at a time so you can work efficiently.
- Write your sessions in your calendar and have a deadline well before April 15.
Not sure what to gather? Everyone has different items to gather, but generally these items are the following.
- Income includes your W-2 and 1099’s. These come in envelopes marked Important Tax Document and will be easy to find in your mail. Or these can be found online from your employer or in investment accounts. You may have already set up ways to find these documents easily online!
- Expense/Deductions include home mortgage interest (From 1098), property taxes paid to your school district and county, and charitable contributions. Property taxes may be escrowed in your mortgage, and you can find these payments listed on your monthly December mortgage statement. Charitable contributions can be found in reviewing your checking account online. Non-cash charitable contributions can be valued with ItsDeductible.com online too.
File online for the quickest return. Keep your filed return forever, either on paper or electronically. Ask your accountant how long to keep the preparation documents. There is differing advice on this but most say at least 3 years. Get ahead for next year by setting up folders to use throughout the year for income and deductions.
You and Your Federal Return
Smead Tax Organizer
AARP Top 10 Filing Tips
AARP Tax filing assistance
Maximizing your medical deductions