Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Get Organized When Filing Tax Returns

For those of us who are not quite as organized as others, we may not a little tax preparation throughout the year so that we don't spend time searching,belaboring the filing our returns. Here are a few tips that should help you be more proactive when it comes time to prepare your returns.

Get serious. Unless you're focused, you're going to see that receipt six times rather than the once you need. This is all mental now. Schedule a time to get to work and commit to that time. Then . . .
Get started. Remember that commitment to get to work? Keep it! This step requires action. Get your pencil and take the blank forms out of the envelope where you've been hiding them, praying that the tax fairies would make them go away

Get organized. Something has to go on those returns. Get your W-2s together to report wages, your 1099s to report interest and dividends, your 1099Bs for reporting stock and bond sales, and your 1098s for deducting your interest and taxes. The Internal Revenue Service and your accountant both want final numbers. It makes it easier for them and less painful financially for you. Bring either one a shopping bag full of receipts and you're going to feel the pain . . . especially in your wallet.

Get help. You might remove a splinter from your own finger, but you wouldn't perform major heart surgery on yourself. A trip to a tax professional should at least tell you what you're missing. Don't hesitate to ask for help; it's deductible! But call for an appointment now! The later your accountant does your return, the more tired that tax preparer will be. You want your return done when she's at her best.

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