Tax season is more than halfway finished by now, but many Americans have yet to file their income tax return. Most of us who owe tend to wait until the last possible moment to file, but many due a refund wait as well. Why? Honestly, we don’t know the reasons filers wait or don’t wait, but we know some of them are waiting to file because they are doing their own income taxes and they are not entirely sure what they are doing. Whether you e-file or use an online tax service such as H&R Block, TurboTax or even TaxAct to file, you probably worry you will make mistakes. We have a few pieces of excellent professional advice for anyone doing their own income taxes that might ease the burden of your stress and ensure more accurately filed returns.
Take a look at your prior year return
It’s so commonly overlooked it isn’t even funny. When you take time to review your income tax return from the prior year, you remind yourself of credits, deductions and other items you were able to claim that you might be able to claim once again.
Gather your documents
You need to make sure you have all the documents necessary for your income tax filing. From W-2 forms to 1099s to mortgage interest statements to interest statements to retirement contribution statements to receipts to donation paperwork; there are dozens upon dozens of forms you might need to file an income tax return. Figure out what they are and then get them.
Check your deductions
Are you a single filer? Are you a married filer? Are you a single person caring for other people with most of your income? Are you a widower? Are you a married person filing separately from your spouse because you are separated or to take advantage of lowering tax brackets and minimizing tax liability wherever possible? Find out what best works for you.
Get social security numbers
It’s an easy mistake to make; you have a couple of kids and you will ‘get their numbers in a bit,’ so you enter a few random numbers as you file online. You just want to get through the taxes and then you’ll correct that as you come back. If you forget to do that, though, you’re in for some big trouble. Your taxes will not be accepted, you might have trouble filing; so many things can go wrong.
Check and double check
You’re finally finished, you’re feeling good; and that’s a wrap. Be sure you check and double check every piece of information you provided when you filed your income taxes. Why? Because any little mistake could cost you not only time, but money.
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