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Tips to Prepare for Tax Filing
Tax time can be one of the most stressful times of the year and it is right around the corner. Preparing your taxes doesn't have to be stressful if you properly prepare. I was a tax preparer for three years and so many people come in to have their taxes prepared without any of the necessary documents and information needed. I hope this article will provide you with some information that will be useful so preparing your taxes will be a little less frustrating.
1. Make sure you have received all of your W-2's and 1099's. If you attempt to prepare your taxes before receiving all of them, you will end up receiving a letter from the Internal Revenue Service, and you will have the added expense of filing an Amended Return. I know you may be anxious to get it over with, but sit down and make sure you have received all of your income documents.
2. if you are planning to go to a tax preparer, please bring social security cards for everyone that will be entered on your return. The reason for this is because it is important to make sure the name on the Social Security card is spelled the same, and also in some cases people have hyphenated names on their Social Security card, but is not the same name or spelling that is listed on the prepared return. This can sometimes cause a problem for the IRS and the IRS will reject your return.
3. Make sure you are the only one claiming dependents on your return. Many times a couple is separated or divorced, and because of lack of communication, both parents claim the same child. This is another reason your return can be rejected by the IRS. Have a conversation with the other parent to make sure you are both on the same page.
4. if your child worked a job during the year, they may need to file a return depending on the amount of money they made. There are guidelines that refer to this issue that can be found at www.irs.gov.
5. If you make a cash contribution to a qualified organization,(i.e. church, Red Cross, etc.) you should bring with you the bank statement, credit card statement or canceled check that indicates the amount of the contribution.
6. Make sure you keep accurate records of any mileage you will be claiming on your taxes. It is a good idea to keep a small notebook in your vehicle to write down dates and mileage information. If you should be asked by the IRS to prove the mileage expenses you are claiming you will need documentation to prove the mileage.
7. If you are claiming medical expenses, make sure you have medical bills and receipts to prove the expenses you are deducting. You can sometime claim mileage expenses pertaining to medical procedures you have to travel for, but again it is important that you keep accurate mileage records to claim these expenses.
8. There is a very important tool you can use to refer to for information and facts regarding filing your individual tax return. That tool is called Publication 17, 2012. It can be found on the IRS website. When I was preparing taxes it was like my bible. It gives you specific information as well as tax tables.
Identity theft is becoming an increasing problem for the IRS. Identity thieves will steal your Social Security number, and file an electronic return very early in the tax season. By the time you go to file your taxes, they will have already filed a return with your social security number, and the IRS will now flag your return. It will take many telephone calls, filling out of paperwork, filing police reports, and it may take several months until you receive your tax return. There are some things you can do to reduce the chances of you becoming a victim of identity theft.
PREVENTING IDENTITY THEFT
- Don’t carry your Social Security card or any document(s) with your SSN on it.
- Don’t give a business your SSN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
- Protect your financial information.
- Check your credit report every 12 months.
- Secure personal information in your home.
- Protect your personal computers by using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, update security patches, and change passwords for Internet accounts.
- Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.If you
If you believe you believe you may be at risk for identity theft because your purse or wallet was stolen, questionable credit report or credit card transactions call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490.
Preparing your taxes doesn't have to be stressful. We sometimes make it stressful by not coming prepared and not keeping proper records. Just remember that anything you claim on your tax return, you should have some sort of documentation to verify it. I hope these tips will make your tax season a whole lot less stressful.