It’s that time of year again, but what if you’re tired of handing over your hard-earned money to accountants and tax preparers? What if you’d like to tackle your own taxes this year? Here are seven tips for filing solo.
1: Gather All Your Intel
Don’t sit down with your tax forms until you’ve gathered all your receipts, bank statements and credit card reports. Nothing will break your stride like having to stop in the middle of a number crunch to hunt down a wayward W2.
2: Know What You’re Filing
While most tax information changes little on a year-to-year basis, things like divorce and death can throw a significant wrench in how you file. Understand how your status has changed before you take fresh ink to any forms.
3: Check Your Tax
may not be eligible for the same exemptions that you enjoyed last season. Others may have been phased out, or their requirements may have changed. Never give yourself any write-offs without checking their validity.
4: Deduct, Deduct, Deduct
Millions of Americans leave money on the table because they don’t realize the extent of the deductions they can claim. Do you handle work business on that new computer you bought last year? Deduct it. Did your company make you pay for gas during your last cross-city assignment? Deduct it.
5: Double-Check Your Numbers
If you’re filing by hand, it’s absolutely essential that you run your numbers two or even three times to make sure they’re accurate. Even with online tax preparers and automatic calculators, you may have pressed the wrong key or forgotten a decimal.
6: Watch The Calendar
Your taxes are due on April 15, but if you put them in the mailbox at 5pm when pick-up was at 3pm, they’ll officially be late and subject to fees. If you’re filing online, beware of time zones; midnight in California is different from midnight in DC, where the IRS headquarters are located.
7: Ask The Experts
Even if you’re committed to doing your own taxes, there are occasional hurdles that can’t be jumped without the help of a professional. In cases like these, don’t be ashamed to reach out to 1 800 Accountant or other tax assistants.These are just seven things to keep in mind when preparing your taxes alone. It may be a daunting process at first, but it does get easier with time, so next year you’ll be an old pro