The 2015 Tax Preparation Checklist
It is that time of year again…tax time! It is time to prepare to submit your annual tax return to the IRS. We understand that this can cause some stress, so we’ve come up with an easy Tax Preparation Checklist for you to follow this year.
✓ Gather Your Documents
One of the most important things that you can do to prepare your tax return this year is to have all of your tax forms at your fingertips when you need them. You will start to receive paper and electronic copies of W-2 forms, 1099s and other important tax documents during the month of January, so our advice is to start a file in your home (paper file or a file on your computer) that you can add to as your tax documents arrive. This way, when it comes time to sit down and work on your return, you will have everything in one place. This will save you tons of precious time!
✓ Track Down Items That You Do Not Receive
You should also spend time making sure that you receive all tax documents from your employer(s), your bank(s), investment companies, charities, etc. In case of an audit, you will want to have every last relevant document, particularly anything related to your income. Do not be lured into thinking that if you do not receive it, the IRS will not either. It may take them a while but they will very likely notice a discrepancy and make contact. It is always best to be proactive and get this sorted out before you submit your return.
✓ Decide How Much Support You Need and How You Will File
You have a lot of options when it comes to filing your annual tax return. You can file electronically or by mail and depending on your unique situation, you may decide to get some help with your return. Tax software or a tax firm/professional can help you complete your tax return, will check for deductions and can support you in the event of an audit. If you have had a significant change over the last year (divorce, sale of home, death in the family), it may be a great year to get some extra help to be sure that your taxes are done right.
Another very important thing to do before you submit your tax return this year is to proofread your return. Look for any significant discrepancies and pay special attention to verifying that your income matches your W-2 exactly and that all of your personal information is correct. Math errors and incorrect information can raise red flags from the IRS, so be sure to check your work!
✓ Keep Copies
You should also make sure to keep copies of your return as well as your back-up documentation for a minimum of 3 years. There are some instances in which you should keep your documents longer so check the IRS website for details.
Tax time can be an easy and painless process if you are prepared. If you have additional questions as you gather your information or would like to speak to one of our experienced tax professionals about your return, you can call Success Tax Relief today at 1-877-825-1179. We can help you sort through your complicated tax situation and come up with a simple straightforward plan for filing your return.