Tax season is coming up soon, and it’s always a good idea to prepare for this time as early on as possible. Putting together all the necessary documentation and reviewing your financial records can take some time, but doing so will make your life a lot easier. Here’s a brief checklist to help you prepare for tax season.
Get a head start by collecting your financial records and any documentation for this tax season. This includes bank statements, pay stubs, W2 forms, 1099 forms, dividend statements, interest statements, and any other accounting-related documents.
Gather any tax-related receipts you might have for this year early on so that they don’t get misplaced.
Keep your records organized and in a safe place. Make sure to store all of these documents in a secure location, away from unrelated documents and places where others might find them.
Make sure to gather any wills, life insurance policies, or other legal documents that you might have. Be aware of who will be responsible for your taxes if anything were to happen to you this year.
Keep a list of passwords and pins where they are easy to access but out of the reach of others. This includes online accounts for things such as grocery shopping, banking or email.
Remember to keep track of any medical expenses that you might have and to save all your receipts. This includes deductibles and copays. These will all be necessary when filing your taxes.
Keep a list of any medical issues you have been diagnosed with this year as well as the contact information for your primary care physician so that you can take this with you if needed to aid in the tax preparation process.
Keep a list of any donations that you made this year for tax purposes. There are certain donation requirements such as having a receipt or letter from the charity or organization that you donated to. Larger donations over a certain amount can lead to larger deductions in taxable income.
Be sure that you keep a list of any business expenses that you made this year. While your accounts payable department likely already keeps track, It might be a good idea to maintain a separate spreadsheet or notebook of all business-related purchases just in case.
Keep track of your mileage throughout the year. If you’re driving for business purposes, keep a record of the dates and times you were out as well as how far it was that you drove. You can use this to calculate how much gas money you have spent on business-related travel if needed. When using your car for work, you can claim the expenses for either your actual mileage driven or you can claim a percentage of business use for your vehicle.
Keep track of any equipment, hardware, or software that you bought and used solely for work purposes this year. Make a note of the date and amount spent on each item. You might be able to list these as tax deductions.
If you work from home, make sure to keep a record of your home office expenses as well as any equipment that you might have bought for this purpose. Take note of the date and cost spent on each item. You can include your internet bill or phone bill if these were used specifically for business purposes. This is also a good time to check and see if you're eligible for the home office deduction.
Keep track of any new furniture or accessories that you might have gotten, such as curtains, storage containers, or decorative items. You might be able to write these off as deductions through tax season.
If you had any education expenses, be sure to save all your receipts. These expenses could include books, tuition, or other related expenses. This can help with tax deductions on your return.
If you are receiving a W2 this year from an employer, keep track of any employment-related expenses that you have incurred. This could be a separate notebook just for these kinds of things so it can easily be accessed when needed.
For more information on which records you should keep, click here.
We believe that being prepared, even months in advance, leads to the best outcome when it comes to your tax filings. You can schedule a free appointment with us to get started today. Don’t wait until it’s too late!