Before you know it, April 15th will roll around and your taxes will be due. If this is the year you want to get organized, and maybe even a little earlier than you are filing your taxes, a tax checklist is one of the best tools you can have. A good tax checklist can keep you organized and tracked so that your taxes are filed on time.
By staying organized, you may also find ways to save money on your federal and state income taxes that you might otherwise have overlooked. So if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get organized for tax season, you’re in luck. Here is a great tax checklist to help you approach the April 15th filing deadline with confidence.
Make a plan: Jan-Feb
The first task on your tax checklist is to create a plan for preparing your taxes this year. Here are some of the most important things you need to do in order to create your tax return plan for this year.
1. Select a date on the calendar when you would like to submit your return. This will help you determine what to do before you see your accountant (or prepare your taxes yourself).
2. Pick a time to organize all tax records and mark those days on your calendar.
3. Start a file in a safe place around your home that can be used to save important tax documents that would normally be mailed around this time, such as tax records. B. your W2 or 1099.
4. Start a new notebook or spreadsheet to keep track of all of the tasks and dates you wrote down to prepare for your taxes that year. You can refer to this document when entering full tax preparation mode to keep track of things.
Find a tax specialist or prepare to file yourself (no later than mid-February)
An important point on your tax checklist is figuring out exactly how you are going to file your taxes. While you can wait longer than mid-February to do this. The longer you wait, the less time your tax preparation specialist will have to include you on their schedule. If you have a complicated return, you want your accountant to have as much time as possible to prepare it for you. Here are a few things you will need to mark your checklist when it comes to your enrollment plan.
1. If you already have an accountant or tax preparation specialist, contact them as soon as possible. Try to schedule a time when you think you will be able to have all of your records together.
2. If you don’t currently have someone to assist you with your taxes, or if you are looking for a new tax preparation specialist, you should start your search as soon as possible. Try to find someone who is established and highly recommended and get in touch with that person as soon as possible to determine what you will need to file your taxes.
3. If you plan to collect your taxes yourself, make sure you have the latest software or other information you need and that you are sure you have the latest information to help you streamline your tax returns.
Get your documents together: Jan-March
Once you’ve chosen a tax preparation specialist, the next step should be to collect all of the necessary documents on your tax checklist to file your tax return. You can start this process in March when W2s are introduced. However, it often takes at least March to get all of the documents you need. If you waited until the last minute, don’t worry. Just start teaming up now! Here is some of the documents and information you will need to file your taxes this year.
1. You will need your social security number and that of your spouse when filing together. If you claim your minor children on your return, you will also need their social security numbers.
2. If you’ve switched tax preparation specialist, it may be a good idea to present your tax return from last year to the new team as this can serve as the basis for filing this year.
3. Make sure you provide copies of any official records for which you have declared income, e.g. B. W2 or 1099.
4. You must also have a record of any state or local taxes you have paid; B. Property taxes on your home or vehicle.
5. Income for deductible expenses is important; In addition to the receipts themselves, a list or table in which they are all can be helpful.
6. Gather all of your 1098 mortgage interest information forms, forms of deferred tax contributions that you have made in retirement accounts, and any paperwork showing the tuition fees you paid.
7. Since most people use a direct deposit for their tax refunds, you will also need your bank account and routing number.
If you have any questions about what additional documentation you might need to file your taxes, contact your tax preparation specialist.
Make a note of the changes: March (or just before submission)
Once you have all of the required documentation on hand, write down any changes on your tax checklist that have been made since you filed your income tax return for the previous year. If you notice changes, your accountant or tax return specialist will be able to prepare your tax return more effectively, especially if they use the previous year’s return as a basis. Here are some of the possible changes to your tax situation that you might want to include.
1. Any changes to your enrollment status (i.e. if you are filing as an individual rather than a married couple filing together).
2. The addition of a child or the determination that a previously claimed child is too old to be included in this year’s return.
3. Buying or selling a home and any interest payments that you added this year that you did not include in your most recent return.
4. Once you have started withdrawing your retirement account, you should also keep this in mind.
5. Any significant changes in expenses that you would normally have claimed on previous returns.
Whenever you have the opportunity, try doing some pre-research with your tax preparation to identify any key changes in your tax position that are worth mentioning for this year’s return.
Make a list and check it twice
Preparing your taxes this year probably won’t be fun, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Just follow this checklist and you can rest assured that you are ready to submit your tax return with confidence.