The tax season is right upon us and the deadline looms. If you are not an early filer, this week is down to the wire to get prepared for the process of filing so as not to get caught up with the deadline. Lucky for you, you have two extra days this year to file (since the filing deadline has been pushed back to April 17th), even if it’s down to the wire. There are various things that you need to start preparing so as to file within time. Below are some of these preparation steps.
Get a Tax Preparer
If you are planning to outsource the work of tax filing this year, you need to quickly secure a tax preparer before it is too late. Usually, all preparers are engaged just before the tax deadline and you therefore need to secure one in good time. You may also consider using a tax preparation software. If your income is below $57,000, you can prepare your taxes free of charge using Free File, an IRS tax software service that the IRS provides in partnership with various private software providers.
Update Your Name and Address
If you changed your name since the last time your filed because you got married, divorced or for whatever reason, you need to ensure that such change is adjusted with the Social Security. You can make the change by going to the Social Security Administration website. If you changed your address during the year, you also need to update the IRS with the new address. You can do so by writing to the IRS of by filing a Change of Address form.
Get the Paperwork Ready
Another important process of tax preparation is keeping your paperwork ready. Whether you are preparing your taxes personally or you are using the services of a preparer, you need to have all the necessary tax documentation ready. The required records include the W-2 forms from your employer, the 1098 and 1099 forms from your stockbroker, mortgage financier or financial institution and the K-1 forms from partnership or S-Corporations that you are an owner. If you made any losses and gains from gambling, you also need to have the records for these. You also need records of sale of property and investments including the purchase receipts of these assets for the purpose of calculating the capital gains. If you are a business owner or are self employed, you need a record of your incomes and your expenses for the tax year being reported. Having a copy of your previous year’s tax returns also helps in preparing the current returns.
Documentation for Tax Reliefs to Claim
Depending on the tax deductions and tax credits that you are planning to claim, you also require the documentation for these. Some of the tax relief related documentation include receipts of medical expenses that you incurred out-of-pocket and that qualifies for tax deduction, acknowledgment of donations to qualifying charities, receipts of educational related expenses that you plan to claim under an education relief, records of mileage covered for qualifying travel such as medical travel, charity related travel or business travel, and records of state and local taxes paid within the year. If you made an adoption within the year, you will also need the receipts relating to the adoption to claim the Adoption Credit.
Get Required Details
If you have dependents that you are claiming reliefs against, you will need the Social Security number of such dependents. If you are claiming Child Care Credit, you will need the details of the address as well as the Social Security number and the Employer Identification Number of the day care provider.