5 Ways to Better Prepare for Filing Your Upcoming Tax Return

Published by William T. Fricke at November 30, 2018

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The tax seasons is around the corner. If you hope to have an easy time filing your taxes, now is the time to start getting ready. Even though it pays to keep track of your tax-related information throughout the year, some extra organization just before you file your taxes will go a long way in making tax season more bearable. Here is a roundup of the top five things you should do to prepare yourself for the upcoming tax return filing.

  1. Determine Which Forms You Will Be Using

The first step should be figuring out which forms you will need when filing your taxes. Different financial situations call for different tax remittance forms. You can check out the IRS forms and instructions page to find the appropriate forms or consult with a tax expert to get professional advice. Knowing the documents you will be using beforehand will let you know the type of materials you will need, hence giving you a chance to gather everything in preparation for the actual tax filing.

  1. Gather All Your Receipts and Sort Them

Having all your receipts on hand before preparing your taxes is very important especially if you plan to itemize deductions instead of taking the standard deductions. The IRS may request the receipts to prove that your claims are valid. You can sort your receipts into logical sections or by month for easy access. Ideally, you should sort your receipts as you receive them instead of waiting for the last minute rush. Receipts should be kept for at least three years after the date you file the tax return.

  1. Confirm Your Deductions

You will be surprised how much money you can recover if you claim all your allowable deductions. Some of the most notable deductions for individuals include:

  • Deductible business expenses
  • Bad debts
  • Real estate and property tax
  • Home mortgage interest
  • Student loan interest
  • Medical and dental expenses

You can visit the IRS website for a comprehensive list of all valid deductions and credits for individuals

  1. Revise Your W-4

Even though the IRS advises people to review their W-4 every year, many people will keep using the same W-4 data year in year out. You should ask your employer to review your data, especially if you have undergone some life changes, for instance adding or losing a family member, in the past year.

  1. Consider Filing an Extension

Choosing to file an extension gives you an extra 6 months to file your return. This can be useful especially if you are involved in multiple business activities or rental properties. It can be difficult to gather all your documentation and receive all K-1 forms while in a rush to beat the deadline. Filing an extension will allow you to file your returns later in the year when things are less busy.

While the tax season might not be the most exciting time of the year for you, it is essential that you pay attention and file as soon as possible. We recommend partnering with a professional at Fricke & Associates, LLC  as soon as you have all the necessary information so that you can avoid the last minute rush and get your refunds earlier.

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