How fast the New Year becomes just “the year.” Here we are already in the middle of January and the time for filing tax returns is looming. To save yourself from last minute tax return panic, why not go ahead and get your tax return preparation done now? We’d like to inspire you with 5 simple tips to get ready for filing your annual return starting January 31st.
1) Organize for next year
This tip is number one for a reason. It’s the first thing you should do if you want to make your tax preparation even easier next year. Set yourself up with a filing system for your receipts, so you can immediately file them by category. Even better, go electronic. Scan your receipts daily throughout the year and store them in a computer file. This will make them much easier to calculate at year end. With certain provisions, the IRS accepts electronic tax receipts when auditing too.
2) Make a List
Now let’s get back to your current filing. The first thing to do is make a list of all your sources of income and expense during the last year. This forms a basis on which to identify the tax forms and supporting documents you need.
3) Do it by Numbers: Social Security Numbers
Make sure you have social security numbers for your spouse and any dependents in hand, as well as your own. This is especially important if you have an accountant file your returns, you’ll need to make sure he or she has all those numbers. If you are planning to claim childcare credit, make sure you have the social security number of your child’s caretaker too.
4) Get Out of the Shoebox and Into a File
Remember tip number 1? If you threw all your tax receipts into a box, you now have some filing to do. Go through all those receipts and file them into categories. Accordion files are great for organizing your receipts, plus they make it easy to take the receipts to your accountant if you use one.
5) Don’t be a Victim of False Economy
Many people balk at the idea of paying a tax professional and prefer to complete their own tax returns. If you’re one of those people, especially if you are self-employed, here’s a question to ask yourself: Are you sure you know everything necessary to benefit from tax breaks? Many people miss out on tax breaks because they’re not aware of their full entitlement. Your tax professional however, will ask you the right questions to establish all those little deductions that you can claim. Hiring an accountant might just save you more than the fees they charge. (Not to mention taking the burden of preparing and filing the return itself off your shoulders!)
Landwehr Financial Solutions offers comprehensive tax planning services and income tax return preparation. Now is the perfect time to schedule a tax planning appointment, so we can help you get ahead of the tax man in 2014, and 15 too. We’re waiting for your call at 320-203-0429.