The calendar is slowly winding down 2019 in preparation for 2020. Guess what that means? Tax season. Yes, you read that correctly. The annual tax season runs from January 1 through mid-April. Those who are prepared for tax season are in a better position to deal with the issues that arise during the first quarter of the year.
One of the things we specialize in is home and small business organization. In our years of offering concierge service, we have dealt with numerous clients who found themselves stressed at tax time because they waited too long to start preparing. Before they knew it, April 15 arrived. Then they scrambled to file an extension.
Believe it or not, you can get a jump on tax season right now. You do not have to wait until early next year. If you’re wondering how, consider the suggestions below.
Check Your Employer’s Information
Your employer is required to file W-2s, W-3s, and healthcare information pertaining to your employment. Little do most people know that incorrect information on employer forms is the leading cause of delayed tax returns. The first and easiest thing you can do right now is check with the HR department at work to make sure the information they have is correct.
Verify your name, address, and Social Security number at minimum. These three pieces of information are the most important in terms of getting your return through the system as quickly and easily as possible.
Balance All of Your Accounts
Routinely balancing your bank and investment accounts is something you should be doing every month. If you don’t, at least make a point of getting them all balanced by the end of the year. All your accounts need to be in order so that they reflect accurate information that may be required in the event of an audit.
If you normally take your taxes to a professional for preparation, you already know that your tax preparer will require certain documents. Create a folder to store all those documents as they come in. Then start watching the mail. Your documents will be delivered to you sometime during the month of January.
Check Your Online Accounts
You may be among those consumers who receive most documents online. Maybe you get your W-2s from your online payroll account and your interest statements directly from your bank’s website. At any rate, now is the time to login to those accounts and make sure the information they have is also correct. Look at all your profiles to ensure that your name, address, and Social Security number are accurate.
Also check to make sure your e-mail address is correct. Otherwise, your employer and your bank may send document links to the wrong address. You would never get the e-mails and, more importantly, they might go to someone else inadvertently.
Decide on Your Tax Software
Perhaps you do your taxes on your own using one of the popular tax software programs. Those software packages change from year to year, so it’s worth doing a comparison before you purchase. Compare the price of the software, filing charges, and features. You might discover that it is more affordable to do your taxes online rather than installing software on your computer.
If you do plan to do your taxes on the computer, it is a good idea to put your machine through its security paces. Update and run your antivirus software. Make sure your wi-fi network is password protected and secure. Anything you can do to keep your data out of the hands of hackers makes doing your taxes even more secure.
Tax time will be here before you know it. By the time New Year’s Day rolls around, it will be time to start thinking about W-2s and 1099s. Take some time now to prepare as much as you can. You will be happy you did so come spring.