5 Tips to Prepare for Tax Season

Tax day, April 17, 2018, is just around the  corner. For many people, taxes are stressful. Whether you plan to complete them yourself in a weekend or are pulling together information to give to your tax preparer, this article is intended to take some of the stress out of the process.

Here are a few tips to get started.

1. Gather All of the Documents You’ll Need

Before you file your taxes, be sure that you have your W-2s from your employer, 1099 forms from banks, or profit and loss statements from your business. W-2s and 1099s typically arrive
in your mailbox through the month of January. If you receive these items electronically, create a file on your computer or print them out for your paper records. If you haven’t received these forms yet, contact your employers, your bank and any other applicable companies and institutions to find out why.

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If you're planning to use any credits, such as a child credit or a school credit, be sure to have the necessary documents for this as well, including any tuition, education or child care expenses paid last year. 

Using a bookkeeper certainly helps in being organized for tax time, especially if you are not good at keeping receipts, ledgers, or good records. We recommend local bookkeeper, Denise Johnson for the job. She can be reached at 916-220-9298 and denise4books@gmail.com. 

For clever ways to save money while doing filing taxes, we recommend working with a good accountant who is an expert in taxes, write-offs and credits. Contact Khinh Hoang at PSG Certified Public Accountants in Roseville. He can be reached at 916-791-3120 and khinh@psgcpas.com. 

2. Download the Latest Catalog of Forms and Publications from IRS.gov or Have Them Mailed to You

Taking the DIY approach to taxes? Be sure to download the most current forms and publications from the IRS. These days, you can do a lot of the work online through software programs or even sites such as CreditKarma.com, which offers a free (truly free) tax filing service on its website. 

3. Start Now

Most tax software programs will allow you to input your information early. Start filling in your information now while you wait for all of your documents to come in, so that you’re not rushing to complete it in April. Remember, early bird gets the worm. 

4. Keep Social Security Numbers On Hand

If you have dependents, make sure you know their Social Security numbers so that your return isn’t delayed. If you  are divorced, decide which parent will claim the children beforehand to prevent an audit or delay. If you're filing as married, you will need your spouse's social security number as well.

5. Check for Special Contributions

You may have until April 17, 2018 to contribute to your traditional and Roth IRA for 2017. Check the IRS website for specific contribution information. 

Did you...

  • Have a major life change in 2017, such as a new mortgage, marriage, divorce or baby? You may need to file a new W-4.
  • Move? Update your mailing address with your employers, clients and institutions that hold your investments and bank accounts. If the forms have already been sent, contact the companies and ask to change your address.