There’s no question that preparing your tax return can be a daunting challenge. And the more complex your finances, the more complex your tax return. Whether you prepare your own return or work with a tax professional, there are ways to make the process less burdensome. It all hinges on a bit of upfront organization.
Here are some key activities to consider as you prepare for tax day:
- Have identification numbers handy. Make sure you have Social Security numbers, tax ID numbers, and your dependents’ information like Social Security and birthday dates.
- Collect documents that show your earnings. This includes your W-2 form from your employer, 1099 form for income from interest, dividends, capital gains or freelance work, and be sure to include any other income that may not be reported on a W-2 or 1099 (self-employment income, alimony)
- Gather documents that reduce your taxable income. Contributions to a traditional IRA and/or health savings account, alimony or qualified student loan interest are all examples of “adjustments to income.”
- Have appropriate records and receipts for itemized deductions. Itemized deductions include things like mortgage interest, state and local taxes, property taxes, charitable contributions, and casualty and theft losses.
- Don’t forget about tax credits. There are a number of tax credits available such as child and dependent care, qualified adoption expenses or even owning an electric car!
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