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It’s mid-January now, and soon, the deluge of tax paperwork is going to take over your home. W2s and other tax documents must be mailed by employers by January 31st, so you should have almost everything you need by mid-February. Whether you prepare your own taxes, or take them to a tax professional, organization is key to ensuring the process goes as well as possible, because you’ll need every document at your fingertips to make sure you get your taxes right.
Want to get started right away? Here are four things you can do now to get organized:
- Make a list of all of the paperwork you are expecting within the next month. Include W2s, 1099s, mortgage documentation, etc. Remember to include all mortgage companies if you, like me, refinanced your mortgage this year. That way, you’ll know when you’ve received everything.
- Create a folder for incoming paperwork, stapling or paper clipping the list on the top. As you receive paperwork in the mail, add it to the folder, and check it off on your list. In mid-February, you may want to contact companies individually if you haven’t received something you are anticipating. Sometimes, you may not get a 1099, even if you’ve received income, because the amount may not reach the required threshold. Follow up on those, because you still may owe taxes, even if you don’t get a form.
- Separately, start to go through charitable contributions and make sure you’ve got all of your receipts from 2010 put aside.
- Finally, pull together other items you’ll need – like daycare bills and excise tax bills. You’ll probably need those also!
These four steps will get you well on your way to being prepared for tax season!