Regardless of whether you file a 1040EZ or a long 1040 with a dozen schedules attached, some planning before you start filling out the forms can keep the process from being an ordeal. It also can make sure you get all the tax breaks to which you're entitled so you don't overpay Uncle Sam.
So while we're waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to open its 2014 tax filing season doors, check out today's Daily Tax Tip: 7 ways to get organized for the tax year.
This includes things such as rounding up (or applying for) all the Social Security numbers required to claim dependents and associated tax credits.
On the wage and salary side, gather all your income statements, including W-2s and 1099-MISC forms. If you're self-employed, be sure you have all the receipts and documentation for business-related expenses you can claim on Schedule C.
Unearned income also must be reported, so you'll need those 1099-INT, 1099-DIV and 1099-B forms. Remember, just like with income statements, the IRS gets copies of these, too.
Do you own a home? You can't claim many of the home-related tax breaks until you have the documentation. So be on the lookout for the official paperwork detailing your mortgage interest and property tax payments.
Don't forget about you donations to charity. If you itemize you can claim them, but be sure you have receipts for your contributions.
And so that you have all this info at your fingertips when you start filling in your 1040, set up an organization system now.
With a little organization preparation now, you'll be ready to send off your 2013 tax return as soon as the IRS starts accepting them on Jan. 31.
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