Even though it’s an annual inevitability, tax season seems to take many of us by surprise. Don’t let that happen to you this year. Here are a few tips to make filing your taxes easier and relatively painless.
- Decide How You’re Filing
Are you doing your taxes on your own this year or are you using a tax preparer? If your financial situation is more complex than it was last year, you may need to visit a CPA or tax preparer. If you are, be sure to make that appointment now. If you’re filing on your own, what forms or software are you going to use? It’s time to decide.
- Gather Documents
You’ve probably been getting your W2, 1099 and other tax documents in the mail. Set aside a folder just for your tax documents and put them in there as soon as they arrive. That way you won’t be scrambling for them when it’s time to file. You’ll also want to corral any pertinent receipts from that tax year. This includes medical, charitable donation, business and childcare receipts and invoices, as well as those for any home improvements you’ve made.
- Learn New Tax Rules
It never hurts to stay up to date with the newest tax rules – some might be to your advantage. And as we know, the IRS is continually updating its rules. Read the latest IRS rules here.
- Find Last Year’s Return
If you’re filing your own return, refresh your memory and review last year’s return. There may be some deductions or speed bumps you forgot. If you’re using a tax preparer, they’ll need to see your previous tax returns.
- List Personal Information
By now we should all know our own social security numbers, but what about those of your spouse or dependents? Have these on hand, as well as any rental or vacation property addresses or dates sold if it was in the past year.
- Determine if You Need an Extension
Don’t have all the information you need to file, or life is just too complicated right now to get the job done? You can file an extension until October 15, but you will still need to estimate the taxes you’ll owe and pay them by April 15.
- Plan Ahead for a Refund
If you’re lucky enough to expect a refund, do you know what you want to do with it? If necessary, you can apply your refund toward your next year’s return or decide to have the money deposited into your checking or savings accounts. We have some smart suggestions on what to do with your refund here.
- Adjust for Next Year
The results of this year’s return may cause you to rethink a few financial decisions. This could include how much tax you’re withholding, how much you’re contributing to your IRA or 401k or how much you’ll spend on charitable donations.
Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row, it might be time to consider the WWFCU TurboTax Discount. You can save up to $15 and get your largest refund guaranteed. Learn more here.