Since the tax deadline clock is ticking, it’s time to get to get down to business. Even if you haven’t done any tax preparation yet, it’s still not too late. Our five tips will help you get everything done by April 18.
1) Organize Everything
The first step is to gather together all the essential documents you need, including:
- Social Security Numbers and dates of birth for you, your spouse and your dependents
- Previous year’s tax filings
- Form W-2 or Form 1099 for income earnings
- Form 1099-INT for investment interest earned
- Receipts for purchases and payments, including business healthcare and education expenses
Then, create a workspace for yourself somewhere within your apartment or home. It could be a desk or even your kitchen table.
2) Plan Tax Preparation Time
Eliminate the pressure of last-minute tax preparation with time management strategies, like these:
- Create to-do lists
- Set a timer
- Work in bursts
- Finish projects in one sitting
- Get your rest
3) Understand Tax Rules
One of the things that trips people up in tax preparation is a lack of knowledge about IRS tax rules. Even if you understand the rules of dependents, chances are you get confused when it comes to deductions.
Before filing, consider these seven frequently overlooked tax deductions.
- Mortgage points
- Home selling expenses
- Child care costs
- Work and educational expenses
- Casualty losses
- Energy saving home improvements
- The cost of filing a tax return
4) Double-Check all your Documents
In the rush to file, many taxpayers make errors that can delay their tax refund. No matter how pressed for time you may be, it’s worthwhile to double check your math, proofread your entire return and, of course, sign and date the document.
5) There’s Always an Extension
If you do run out of time before finishing, there’s no reason to fret. About 10 million people request a tax extension every year. You may be granted an extension automatically without the need for an initial explanation.
If you have any further questions about individual tax planning and preparation, consult your local tax preparer.