Tax day doesn’t need to be stressful if you keep these five things in mind
No one relishes the idea of getting their taxes done. Between work, family, and other commitments, very few of us have the time. Show up unprepared on tax day, however, and you could be in for a stressful ride. Here are five things you need to do before tax day:
• Fill out the organizer from your tax preparer: You’ll typically receive it in the mail as early as January. Tax preparers are busy this time of year, so help them out by filling out the organizer form ahead of your appointment.
Tax day will go faster and be less stressful for everyone involved.
• Get organized: gather all of your income statements (W2s, 1099s, bank interest statements, stock/bond dividend statements, retirement income statements) and set them aside.
Your tax preparer will need them in order to file your return. If you are missing any of your income documents, contact the issuing party and request a duplicate.
• Set aside your mortgage interest statements: Your bank will issue a mortgage interest statement that will disclose how much interest you paid during the tax year. Since mortgage interest is deductible, your tax preparer will need it in order to prepare your return.
• Round up receipts for income and expenses if you’re self-employed: Better yet, if you have a spreadsheet that discloses your income and expenses, bring that with you to your tax prep appointment.
Your appointment will go faster and your tax preparer will be grateful. You can also transfer the figures from the spreadsheet to your tax organizer booklet.
• Gather receipts for any additional deductions: Gather receipts for child/dependent care, medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance, interest statements, student loan interest statements, and records for any other itemized deduction.
Your tax preparer will be able to determine whether or not you qualify for specific deductions, so be sure to provide all the needed information on the organizer form or bring all records with you on the day of your tax appointment.
• Most of all, take tax day in stride: No one ever looks forward to their tax appointment, but with a little advance organization, you could have a less stressful tax day. Allow plenty of time to get to and from your appointment, and allow plenty of time for your appointment. Have all the necessary paperwork that your tax preparer will need so they can prepare your return accurately and quickly.