It’s no secret tax time can be taxing on one’s stress levels. Fortunately, a few simple tips can greatly improve your tax filing experience:
- Select an experienced tax preparer.
Unless you’re planning to file your own taxes, you’ll need to find a reputable tax professional to prepare your taxes for you. Check with friends and family members for recommendations, and make sure the preparer has a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). If your tax situation is complex, take some time to research the credentials, qualifications and educational background of the various preparers you’re considering. Lastly, ask about each preparer’s fees so you can compare and know what to expect.
- Gather needed information and documentation.
Your preparer will need a variety of documents and personal details in order to file your taxes. Write down the addresses of any properties you own as well as your Social Security number and those of any dependents. You’ll also need to provide applicable documentation, including but not limited to:
- Form W-2 from your employer (or Form 1099-MISC if you’re an independent contractor)
- Form 1099-INT, Form 1099-DIV and/or Form 1099-B showing interest earnings
- Form 1098 listing the interest you paid on your mortgage
- Receipts for any charitable donations
- Make the most of your tax refund.
Though having a responsible plan for your tax refund might not alleviate your tax time stress, it will certainly alleviate your overall financial stress. Consider using your refund to pay down high-interest debt, start an emergency fund, save for retirement or invest for your child’s college education. Your future self will thank you for it later!