It’s that dreaded time of the year again, time to do your taxes. If you aren’t ready, you should be. Getting everything ready at the last minute is a recipe for mistakes that can cost you money, or worse. It takes time to get all the necessary paperwork ready and there may be things that you need to find. On the average, people spend around 16 hours preparing tax forms so the sooner you start, the better. Preparing for and filing taxes are considered a pain for most people, so here are some tips to help you make it less painful.
Collect all the necessary paperwork in one place. Sometimes it helps to have a large envelop or box to keep all the relevant paperwork in. Find all those W-2s, 1099s, mortgage forms, loan interest documents and receipts. Make sure you have all receipts for tax deductible expenses like childcare and health insurance premiums. Whether you’ll be doing your taxes yourself, or having a professional do them, having all the paperwork will insure you’re not cheating yourself while keeping you out of trouble with the IRS.
By January 31st you should have received all your income and investment forms so there should be no reason to hold you up after that date. Getting ready well ahead of time will also give you time to double check and make sure you did receive all the necessary forms. If you didn’t, you will have time to contact the parties involved and get duplicate copies sent to you before it’s too late.
Once you have gathered all the necessary documentation you can decide who’s going to do your taxes. If you will be doing them yourself, you have time to get the forms from the IRS and get started. If you choose to have them done professionally you should have plenty of time to get some references from friends or business associates as to a good tax accountant to use.
For those who are owed a refund, the earlier you file your taxes, the sooner you’ll get that refund. Good luck!