Whether you file early or wait until the tax deadline, there are simple things you can do today to help you cruise through tax season. Use the following five tips to start getting organized.
Step 1: Know when your tax documents will arrive
Your tax forms should arrive in the mail starting in January. When the forms start to arrive, take a moment to pull out a file folder, label it, and set it somewhere safe. As new tax documents come in, add each one to your new Tax Day folder so everything you need is in one place.
Most common tax forms are sent out by late January, so if you’re missing a W-2 or 1099 in mid-February, go ahead and track it down. Having everything you need in one place sets you up for a Tax Day win.
Step 2: Review your year’s milestones
Did you get married this year? Have a baby? Buy a house or car? If you made a big life change, congratulations!
Since Uncle Sam isn’t a traditional “cool uncle,” don’t expect a gift from your registry. Instead, you might need some additional documentation and possibly extra tax forms.
For example, if you got married, check that your filing name matches what’s on your social security card. If you moved, make sure you update your address — you can do that as you file. You’ll also want to decide how you and your spouse will file this year. Your choices are married filing jointly or married filing separately.
Remember, whether you tied the knot at New Year’s brunch in January or right before the ball dropped in December, the IRS considers you married for the entire year. Make sure your information reflects that!
Step 3: Consider if you’ll itemize
A majority of taxpayers tend to take the standard deduction. However, if your itemized deductions add up to more than the standard deduction you qualify to claim, it might be a better idea to itemize.
When you file with TaxAct®, we can help you run the numbers each way to see which choice works best for you.
Planning to itemize? Get started organizing your expense receipts from the year. An easy way to combine digital and hard copies is to snap, save, and sort them into your phone’s photo albums. That way, they’re all in one place.
Know you’ll take the standard deduction? Nice. Sit back, relax, and skip receipt gathering altogether.
Step 4: Set time aside to file
Life is hectic. And somehow, the second you sit down to do your taxes is when that chaos escalates.
Show your schedule who’s boss. Try clearing a designated block of time on your calendar to file. Go all out! Schedule a playdate for the kids, put on some motivating music, and get down to business.
By assigning that time now, you remove the “When will I prepare my taxes?!” stress from your life. And when the time rolls around, you’ll have an environment that lets you focus.
Step 5: Find a tax partner that helps you succeed
TaxAct is designed to help you hang on to more of what’s already yours. We’ll walk you through each section of your taxes, step by step, prompting you with tips for deductions and credits that you may not know about.
Best of all, our tax preparation solutions help you to prepare your taxes quickly so that you can get back to your life. Isn’t that the kind of partner you want in your corner on Tax Day?
We’re ready to help you succeed.
By addressing little things early and clearing away potential filing obstacles, when you sit down to prepare taxes in a few months there’ll be nothing standing between you and filing success — except maybe a pile of snacks. And who are we kidding? You’ll need those.
This article is for informational purposes only and not legal or financial advice.
All TaxAct offers, products and services are subject to applicable terms and conditions.