Tips for Preparing for Tax Season

in All Items, Tax Information, Tax Tips

Ready or not, tax season is here, and the sooner you file your taxes, the better! Whether you’re doing the job yourself or going to a preparer, know that you can’t receive your refund or get those payments out of the way until the filing has been done and done correctly. Before you can file, however, you’ll need to get a few things in order. Here, we provide a handy list of tips to get you ready for tax season. Follow them, and you’ll likely find the filing process a breeze! Remember, you only have to deal with this once per year, so you might as well get it over with.

Both those who do their taxes on their own and those who plan to hire a preparer will need to get all of their documentation in order. While the documentation you will require may vary dependent upon your situation in life, the basics that you will need to bring will likely include a copy of last year’s return when applicable, two forms of identification (usually a driver’s license/ state issued ID card and social security card), and some kind of proof of income. There’s nothing worse than getting started and then realizing that you don’t have everything you need.

After you’ve got all of your documents together and have filled out the necessary forms, make sure you give them a careful onceover. One of the most common reasons for rejected tax forms is a mistake or error on the form. Check and double-check your math. Even if you’re using a software program to file your taxes, it’s easy to input a wrong number somewhere. Also make sure your form is legible and clear and that you have reported everything accurately and truthfully. Even if a preparer completes your form for you, you should look over it and ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have.

Once you have completed the filing process, don’t be afraid to ask your preparer or to do the hard work yourself and figure out whether you’ll be getting a refund or having to pay taxes. In either instance, it’s nice to know what to expect. If you’re going to be getting a refund, ask the amount and then plan what to do with the money. Income taxes provide a great way to get caught up on bills or debts! And, if you’re going to have to pay taxes, make sure you make a plan for how to do that, since for many people, the additional cost can come as a troubling surprise. If you are unable to pay your taxes all at once, take the time to learn more about the IRS’ options for repayment. You can, if necessary, make small monthly payments to pay off your taxes, rather than paying in one lump sum. No matter how you pay, however, chances are it’s going to be a lot easier to deal with if you plan ahead of time.

Have a tax question? Ask one of our tax professionals.