Now that tax season has officially arrived, filing your taxes is probably a top thing on your mind. You might be worried that it’s going to be stressful, or you could be concerned about filling out your taxes properly. However, if you do these essential things before filing your taxes, you can help ensure that you do them properly and can help greatly reduce your stress levels during tax season.
1. Gather All of Your Tax Documents
The first thing that you’ll need to do is gather up all of your W-2’s, 1099’s and other tax forms. You are going to need all of them to ensure that you do your taxes accurately and properly.
2. Look for Your Receipts
Are you planning on filing for expenses throughout the year, such as healthcare costs, energy efficient improvements that you’ve made to your home or work or business expenses? If so, you are going to need to gather up all of your receipts so that you can get an accurate total and so that you can submit proof in the event that the IRS audits you.
3. Organize Your Paperwork
You don’t want to start filling out your tax forms only to find that you are totally disorganized. Take the time to organize all of your forms neatly, such as by putting them in a large folder or envelope. Separate income reports from receipts for expenses so that everything is easy to find. You may also want to go ahead and calculate the totals for things, such as business expenses.
4. Think About Major Life Changes in the Past Year
If you’ve gone through any major life changes in the past year, your taxes might be affected. For example, if you’ve gotten married, you might have to decide how you are going to file your taxes. If you’ve had a baby, you might qualify for additional tax credits that you haven’t qualified for in the past.
5. Consult with a Professional
Even if you are planning on filling out your own tax forms, you will probably want to consult with a professional before you submit your forms. A tax preparation professional can ensure that you have filled out your paperwork properly and can point out anything that you might have missed, such as deductions or credits that you might qualify for but that you might not have known about.
As you can see, there are a few steps that you should take before filing your taxes. Then, you can make tax season a lot less stressful for yourself, and you can help ensure that you do your taxes properly as well.