Taxes can be complicated, but these steps make things go much more smoothly at tax time:
1. Make an Appointment with Your Tax Preparer
An experienced tax accountant like J Kelly & Associates makes filing taxes easier. It is important to speak with your preparer about fees and timelines to avoid any surprises later in the process. The sooner you meet with your tax accountant, the earlier your return will most likely be completed.
2. Organize Your Documents
Collect the documents you will need to work with your tax preparer from your employer, bank and/or brokerage firm. Be sure that the personal information on these documents is correct or the process can be complicated.
Common forms include:
- Form W-2 for employment
- 1009 income forms, such as 1099-DIV, 1009-INT, and 1099-MISC
- Form W-2G for gambling winnings
- Form 1098, reporting mortgage interest
Not all receipts are created equal. You will need to choose whether to itemize your deductions or take a standard deduction, but the choice will depend on which will save you more money.
Medical receipts, investment-related expenses, or other deductible purchase receipts are the most common. Don’t forget about charitable donations and business expenses.
4. Standardize Your Personal Information
Write down all personal information, including your social security number, past addresses in the last year, and the number of each claimed dependent. This will save the time of searching through records when the time comes to fill out tax forms.
5. Think About Filing an Extension
An October 15 extension can be requested if you are unable to file your taxes by the deadline. To avoid penalties, however, an estimate of the tax you owe will still need to be sent to the IRS by the normal tax deadline.
6. Decide What to Do with a Refund
If you have a refund from your tax return, you can either have it applied to next year’s taxes, contribute it to an account (like an IRA, HSA, or ESA), or get the refund directly through check or direct deposit.
7. Find Your Return from the Previous Year
If your preparer doesn’t already have last year’s return, providing it to them can have benefits. Details like interests and dividends, as well as charitable deductions, will remind your accountant not to leave these items out.
8. Contact Us!
Our experienced tax accountants at J Kelly & Associates can ensure that you avoid tax problems this tax season. Visit our Contact Us page to get started.