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Getting Ready for Tax Season

The countdown is on to April 15 and, even though it’s still a couple of months away, smart taxpayers are using this time to get ready, get set and (hopefully) get a little refund check after it’s all over and done with. While preparing your taxes can be time-consuming and frustrating, we have some tips to make the whole thing a little less stressful.

Get everyone’s Social Security numbers ready.

Before you get started, you’ll need a Social Security Number for everyone on your tax return. This includes your spouse and any dependents such as children or parents. If your child doesn’t have a SSN, now is the time to get one. You can fill out an application for a Social Security card on the Social Security Administration’s website.
  1. Collect all your documents.
Gather all your documents that show what you earned in 2012, plus your spouse’s documents if you are filing jointly. If you kept the same job throughout the year you only need your W-2 from your employer. If you weren’t employed by the same company in 2012, you might need a different form. For example, if you worked as a freelancer or contractor and made more than $600 from one client, you need a 1099-MISC form. If you collected unemployment, you need a 1099-G form. And be sure to reach out to employers if you don’t have the documentation you need at this point!
  1. Find your return from 2011.
Unless your life has changed dramatically in the past year, your 2011 return is a great guide for 2012 filing. You’ll have many of the same deductions such as mortgage interest, property taxes and charitable contributions. If you are having difficulty finding last year’s return, you can request a copy online from the IRS website.
  1. Figure out your 2012 deductions.
Now it’s time to look into what deductions you can claim for the year. There are many possibilities, but you need to be sure you have documentation for each of them. Money Talk News shared some easy-to-miss deductions last year, from searching for a job to building an energy-efficient home, which you may be able to claim. Be sure to check out the IRS's itemized deductions page for details. Every $100 of deductible expenses can mean up to $35 in your refund, so it would be a shame to miss out.
  1. Plan how to get your refund.
Investigate the best way for you to get your refund this tax season. An easy and fast way to collect it is via direct deposit, and the IRS allows you to split your refund between up to three different accounts. Filing electronically can also speed up the process so that you get your refund in about ten days, instead of the normal three-week waiting period.

Tax season can be overwhelming. But if you get organized, you can file with less stress and get your refund quickly!

Every taxpayer’s situation and circumstances are different. The information contained in this article/post/site is for information purposes only and the recipient of such information should seek the advice of financial or tax professionals and/or legal counsel regarding their individual situation.

Article submitted by Jeff