Madison, WI,
01
February
2014
|
10:57 PM
America/Chicago

Get Organized Now for Tax Season

Prepare now, avoid headaches later!

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Tax season can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some no-nonsense suggestions for organizing your documents now, so you won’t have headaches and heartburn at tax time.

Create a timeline: Make a general timeline for gathering documents, filling out your returns (or having your accountant complete them in a timely fashion), and submitting everything by the April 15 deadline. If you haven’t received all W-2, 1098 or 1099 forms by now, contact the appropriate companies.

Gather documents: Collect W-2s, 1098s, 1099s, receipts and documents that may fall under the following categories:

  • Income – Wages, salaries, tips and other earnings; interest income; dividends and other distributions; rental income; retirement plans, pensions and annuities; Social Security benefits; other income.
  • Gains and losses – Gains from selling or trading stocks, bonds or other investment property; gains from selling your home or property you personally use.
  • Adjustments to income – Contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts; alimony; student loan interest; other adjustments such as moving expenses, self-employment health insurance, etc.
  • Deductions and expenses – Medical and dental expenses; real estate, property and other taxes; mortgage interest; contributions and charitable donations; nonbusiness casualty and theft losses; car expenses and other employee business expenses; work-related education; child and dependent care.

Federal tax forms are available at IRS.gov.

Get educated: For details on the categories and items listed above, consult “Your Federal Income Tax,” a free guide published by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Don’t miss the “What’s New” section for important tax changes and updates. Also, IRS.gov offers an abundance of tips, tools and information to help you complete your returns.

Get help: If you get stumped or have questions, call the IRS Monday through Friday, or contact your local IRS office.

Refer to your state’s department of revenue website for details and tax forms for 2013.

Remember to plan ahead for next year by organizing your documents ahead of time, and keeping them all in one place. It could help streamline the process when you prepare taxes next year.

Check out these related resources:

Creating a Family Budget

The Dollars and Cents of a College Education