Filing your tax returns typically requires a bunch of documents and paperwork you need to prepare. While the process can be overwhelming and stressful for many, doing it sooner allows you to receive your refund in no time.
The requirements needed to file your taxes may vary depending on your situation. That’s why it’s important to determine which documentation is relevant to you.
Remember this: Preparation is a crucial step in the tax return filing process.
Whether you’re filing online or with a tax preparer, using a tax document checklist can help you get organized. Simply highlight the applicable categories and make sure you have this information ready before starting the filing process.
By gathering the necessary tax documents and forms, you can save a lot of time and effort when it’s time to file your taxes.
Here’s a complete checklist of all tax information you may need to help you get started.
This information lets the IRS know exactly who is filing, who is covered in your tax return, and where to deposit the tax refund. To do this, you will need the following:
Parents and caregivers should gather the following documents:
Prepare all documents that apply to you:
The types of tax deductions greatly depend on your unique circumstances. You may claim tax deductions for some of your expenses to help reduce your tax burden.
Bring the applicable documentation for the following expenses you may have:
Here are some tips to make your tax return preparation easier and more hassle-free:
There are three ways to file your taxes. Discover what each method involves, so you can decide which suits you best.
Electronic tax return filing has become popular among many taxpayers over the years. It is a more convenient alternative to traditional filing, enabling you to get refunds faster.
E-filing also automatically checks for missing information or errors to ensure accuracy. You can prepare taxes by yourself by downloading the forms online and printing them. If you owe a payment, you can submit the return with a check.
Another option is filling out the forms electronically and sending the return with a credit card payment. You can find all federal tax forms at the IRS.gov website, while state income tax forms are available at your state's official website.
According to the IRS, “almost 195.2 million tax returns and other forms had been filed electronically, representing 81.3 percent of all filings”.
Filing your own taxes does not require any fees or charges. It also gives you insights regarding your financial situation by tracking your earnings, spendings, and other transactions.
If you are dealing with a complicated situation about your finances, you may benefit from hiring a tax preparer. These qualified tax professionals can help you prepare and file your taxes.
They provide guidance if you need to understand specific forms or documents. Tax preparers can also assist you in maximizing your tax deductions and reducing the amount you owe.
Once you’ve decided to hire one, make sure that they have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and ask about their service fees upfront.
The IRS requires your tax return to be filed electronically if the preparer files 10 or more tax returns in a year.
You can also file taxes without meeting with your tax preparer in person. There is a secure portal that allows you to share documents electronically with them.
The preparer will email a link to the portal, where you will set up your password. Then, you can start uploading PDF files or photos of your tax documents.
Using tax preparation software is another way to file your own federal and state tax returns. The software lets you input your information and is designed to make the filing process easier.
If you use it for more than a year, the software can automatically fill in information from last year. Most major tax software providers offer packages that come with support available by phone, online, or both.
This gives you access to human tax professionals who can answer any inquiries, review your returns, or file taxes electronically for you.
The IRS Free File Program enables you to prepare and file your federal taxes online for free. It is a partnership between the IRS and leading tax prep and filing software brands. You can get tax prep programs for free if you qualify.
The earlier you start filing your taxes, the sooner you can get your refunds. A tax document checklist is a helpful tool in organizing the records and forms you need.
Whether you are filing your own taxes electronically or with a professional tax preparer, following your checklist can save you time and money throughout the entire process.
If you need help with your unique financial situation, 121 Financial Credit Union has qualified advisors who can provide you with professional guidance. Contact us today to get started.