We’re barely through the first month of 2020, so let’s talk about taxes, shall we? You’re probably saying to yourself that it’s way too soon to talk about that, and, in many ways, you’re right – tax day isn’t until April 15, and even then, you can always file an extension. But waiting until the last minute only makes things worse. So why not start now?
Here’s a simple, yet important list of five common tax items everyone should be rounding up right now:
ALL DOCUMENTS THAT PROVE WHAT YOU MADE IN 2019
This includes everything from W-2 forms to unemployment income, investment income, rental property income, social security benefits, and even 1099s.
A DETAILED LIST OF ALL YOUR DEDUCTIONS
This is a perfect example of something that will take some time, especially if you are relying on crumpled up receipts between the seats of your car. Be mindful of anything that can help out your case, including childcare and educational expenses, property tax and mortgage interest, retirement accounts, etc.
DIRECT DEPOSIT INFORMATION
Assuming you are one of the lucky ones to get money back on your taxes, make sure you have your bank account information handy. This includes routing and account numbers.
A LIST OF ALL YOUR CREDITS
Credits are another great way to lower your tax burden, but you need documentation to prove you deserve them. Examples of common credits include child credit, premium tax credits, and lifetime learning credits.
If you’re doing a single filing, this is as simple as knowing your social security number. But if you’re married and have children, you will need the same information for each person in your family. If you’re relying on a CPA to handle your tax return, make sure they have birthdates, etc., and have previous years’ tax returns available.
These tips are all fine and dandy, but what about the procrastination part? After all, even if we know how to get our hands on all the information above, most of us see it as too big a chore and ignore it for as long as possible.
SOME TIPS TO HELP WITH THE PROCRASTINATION INCLUDE:
BLOCK OUT TIME
Maybe a few weekends are coming up where you can spend an hour at a time getting all your ducks in a row. Starting earlier and in smaller doses makes tax prep and easier pill to swallow. PRIORITIZE Ask yourself, “what’s the one item I can accomplish today?” Once you know the answer, then do it.
CREATE YOUR OWN DEADLINE
Pick an earlier date as your own personal deadline. Mark it on your calendar and make sure it’s listed as a big deal.
HIRE A BOOKKEEPER
The benefits of having a bookkeeper are numerous. Perhaps the biggest one is that they can do all the heavy lifting for you and then give you a pretty package of tax documents for your CPA.
We’d be silly if we didn’t add in here that Murray Media Group are not tax advisors. This is merely a basic list of information you should consider pulling together now rather than waiting until the last minute. There are plenty of qualified CPAs in and around Denton County who can help answer specific tax questions as they relate to your situation.