Deacon Hayes, Clark.com
We all know just how annoying tax-filling season can be – but with a little prep work and planning, you can minimize the stress and maximize the relief of knowing your taxes are off your plate for another year.
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1.Get your documents organized
The process is a lot easier if you keep all necessary tax filing documents in one place – starting at the beginning of the tax year.
If you haven’t done that before, use this year as a starting point. Go ahead and get all of last year’s tax documents organized and put a system in place for keeping this year’s tax documents organized so that next year’s planning will be easier.
Some of the documents you’ll want to keep and have together include:
W-2s from all employers
1099 forms if you do any contracted or self-employed work
Receipts from any charitable contributions
Receipts from itemized expense deductions such as work-related deductions, mortgage interest numbers or child-related deductions
The more organized you are, the simpler tax filing will be.
2. Decide how and when are you going to file your taxes
If your situation is somewhat simple, you can use the free tax-filing software available from the IRS or one of the many other tax-prep software and programs available.
If your taxes are a little more complicated, you may need to hire a professional tax preparer.
One way you can decide whether you want to DIY your tax return or have a tax specialist do it is to figure in the time factor. If you know the tax laws well and are good at filing on your own, that may be the way to go.
However, if you have a lot deductions, and/or several complicated financial accounts, it may be worth hiring a professional to make sure you don’t miss anything.
As far as the “when” to file taxes, there are a couple of things to consider.
The earlier you file, there’s a lesser chance of potential fraud, where someone might be able to steal your information and file in your name, scamming your refund. Advocates of waiting closer to the end of the season to file cite a lesser chance of being audited.