As we move toward tax season, it’s time to start preparing for the tax deadlines. Even if you hire someone else to file your taxes on your behalf, there are many ways you can begin preparing now. The earlier you start on tax prep the happier you, and your tax professional, will be!
Take the time to look through your previous tax forms and files so you can have the full picture of what you need to begin to prepare. Give yourself time to digest all of the information you’re pulling and once you organize it and consult with a tax professional, you’ll feel prepared and ready for tax season.
Because you deserve to feel confident in your preparation for tax season, we created this list of easy tips to apply as you begin to dive into tax preparation and planning. Slow down, follow these steps and consult a professional so you can win at business!
Although it seems like a simple task, gathering and organizing your documents in preparation for tax season will set you up for success. By the end of January each year, you should be in possession of almost all necessary tax documents needed to begin the tax preparation process.
An important factor to gathering documents is making sure they are consistent with the documentation and records you have. If you haven’t kept records of tax forms and information, consider putting that practice into place! It will save you hours on the back-end.
Having organized receipts is the easiest way to determine your deductions. Organized and readily available receipts are crucial to finding a sizable write-off. You want to be able to look at all of your records and receipts before determining which will produce the greatest write-off.
Some easy receipts to look for are medical costs that your insurance didn’t cover, or property taxes and investment-related spending. These options do have limits, but they are often worth your time to itemize and organize. In addition, collect any possible back-up from charitable donations. Charities are required to provide written receipts for any gifts of $250 or more. If you did not receive a written receipt, reach out to the non-profit and request one.
List All Of Your Personal Information
If you’re working with a tax expert to prepare for tax season, make sure to have a compiled list of all your personal information, along with the information of anyone you claim as a dependent. You also want to list any property addresses you own, if you have purchased or sold property in the past year, and when you bought or sold that property.
If you have sold property in the past year, it is also wise to make note of the original price of the property and how much you received when you sold it.
Find A Copy Of The Previous Year’s Return
If you’re working with the same financial and tax expert as previous years, they will likely have a copy of your previous year’s return. If you’ve decided to work with a new tax professional, having a copy of last year’s tax return will help them calculate the best path moving forward.
Some big areas to pay attention to in old returns are interest and dividends. Your previous return should show you which financial institutions sent you 1099 forms. Use that information to ensure you receive those 1099 forms again unless you closed the account or sold the investment. Another significant area to watch is charitable deductions. Even if you made small donations, you can still deduct them if you have a canceled check or something to prove the donation.
As you go into tax season, feel prepared and confident in your financials by following the steps on this list and consulting tax professionals and experts. Having cohesive, organized records of all previous returns, receipts and documents makes your tax preparation significantly easier. You deserve to win at business, so stayed focused and continue to prepare for the tax season.
If you have any questions or want to speak to a tax professional about the upcoming tax deadlines, reach out to us. Because we want to see you win at business, our tax experts will ensure you are fully prepared for tax season so when it comes time to submit any information, you will be ready!
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