Yep, it’s tax time again.  A stressful, anxiety-filled time for some, but it doesn’t have to be if you spend some time getting prepared.  Whether you are doing your taxes yourself or hiring a CPA, here are a few steps to get you prepared.

First, get all your documents together.  This includes W-2s, 1099s, mortgage interest statement, etc.  Don’t forget “non-statements” like receipts for childcare, education, and home improvements.

Secondly, keep an eye on the calendar.  Now that it’s February, you should have all your statements.  These are required to be sent out by the end of January, by the way.  If you haven’t received them, make the proper phone calls.  Also, don’t wait until the deadline to file.  Get ‘em done!  The tax deadline is April 15th.

Next, organize your documents.  Get three folders.  In the first, put in your statements.  In another, file all your deduction statements, i.e. charitable giving.  And finally, in a third folder put your deductions that are receipts.  Do this even if you’re hiring a CPA.  It will save their time.  Remember, you’re most likely paying them by the hour.

Now you’re ready to file.  If you hire a professional, they will give you a nice packet of when finished.  Make sure you store your taxes in a safe place for seven years.

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