It’s almost time to turn the calendar to a new year, which means tax season is coming up! Starting in January, you’ll begin receiving your W-2s or 1099s, and other tax statements.
You can’t start filing until you receive all your tax documents, but you can start preparing now. Making a checklist and ensuring you get everything in order ahead of time will help you file your taxes with ease, well ahead of the April 15 deadline!
Here are some tips to help you get ready for tax season.
Gather your personal information
However you decide to file your taxes, you’ll need your personal information. Make sure to have the following information on hand for yourself, your spouse and any dependents:
- Photo ID
- Social Security number or tax identification number
- Date of birth
Organize your tax documents
Starting in January, you’ll receive documentation for all your income throughout the year. This includes W-2s from your employer(s), documents for any investments or retirement funds, and statements from your banks and savings accounts.
Explore this tax document checklist from the Get It Back campaign.
Decide how to file
There are a few ways to file:
1. Find free tax preparation.
The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) have free tax preparation resources for people who:
- People who generally make $60,000 or less
- Persons with disabilities; and
- Limited English-speaking taxpayers
These programs use the services of tax professionals to file your basic returns. Visit the IRS website to learn more about these resources.
2. Use online tax software.
There are many commercials and online ads for tax prep software like TurboTax, H&R Block, Cash App and more. These options walk you through the process step-by-step and help you understand your tax situation when you’re ready to file.
3. Work with a CPA.
This may be your most expensive option but could also increase your chances of a higher refund. The experts will take care of the paperwork and filing for you. But keep in mind that what you pay them will reduce the total of your tax refund.
4. Do it yourself.
Fill out your tax form on paper and mail it or fill it out electronically and e-file it with the IRS online. This is usually your cheapest option. But be sure to keep a careful eye out for errors while you fill out the form.
There are many tax credits and deductions available. They exist for homeowners, parents, caretakers, individuals paying off student debt and more. Check out this list of deductions from the IRS so you can be on the lookout for the right documents.
If you want more tax season tips to make the most of your refund this year, check out this article. To schedule an appointment to discuss your financial future with our Community Inclusion Department, fill out the form below and someone will reach out to you.