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Steps to Take Before You Prepare Your Taxes

Taxes are important. Doing it right is, however, far more important. A lot of people understand the troubles that come with a tax audit from the IRS and to avoid this, there is a need to be proactive about the topic of tax preparation and planning.

Tax Shark, a top tax preparation agency, noted that the IRS reported over 80 million people to have used the services of a paid professional in the preparation of their taxes. This further leads to the credibility of the decision to choose a tax preparer to handle tax documents.

If you intend to work with a paid tax professional, there are certain things you need to know and keep in mind to keep the process smooth and easy for you and the professional. Kindly note that organizing your forms, receipts, and other documents is essential before paying a visit to the tax professional as this will significantly save you stress and also boost the overall experience.

To ensure that you do everything right and to avoid the troubles associated with filing error information or a notification from the IRS, below are some of the steps you should take.

Choose a tax preparation professional

The first step towards getting your tax filing and returns right is choosing the perfect tax preparer for you. If you do not already have a professional to handle your tax preparation needs, a great way to source for one is to ask family and friends for recommendations. Surely, at least one of them has a professional tax preparer that has handled their business for years without issues with the IRS. If you are unsatisfied with the recommendations, you may want to spread your search out further by using the internet.

When using the internet, be sure to read the reviews that have been left by past clients as this can help you to weed out the unscrupulous elements disguising as professionals while also boosting the chances of an overall positive experience.

Schedule an appointment

After selecting from the list of preparers that you have collected, be sure to schedule an appointment with the tax firm. Please note that the sooner you can meet with the tax preparer, the faster you can get started on your tax preparation process. During the meeting, evaluate the customer service as well as other factors that are particular to you. This will help you to decide whether you wish to stick with the tax preparer or continue your search for one.

Gather relevant documents

Your tax preparer needs as many documents regarding your finances as you can provide. Be sure to make the process seamless by gathering all of the relevant documents including the various tax documents that you have in your possession – whether from your employer(s), banks, brokerage firms, or others.

Some of the most common forms you will be required to present include;

  1. Form W-2 for persons who have a job
  2. Form-1099 to report the incomes earned by independent contractors
  3. Form 1098 to report interest paid on a mortgage
  4. Form W-2G for those that won from gambling.

Receipts! Receipts!! Receipts!!!

As you gather your documents, be sure to also gather as many receipts as you have kept over the past year. It is important to gather as many of them as you have to be submitted to the tax preparer. The chances of being able to qualify for a return on some of the receipts are high and you do not want to lose out on this chance.

Your tax preparer can help you to examine the receipts to select those that offer you a better chance of a bigger write-off.

Provide your personal information

As part of the information to be submitted to the tax preparer, you should make sure that your personal information is included. Be sure that all of the personal information that is being submitted is cross-checked once or twice over to ensure that you haven’t made a mistake. Mistakes can be costly and you should try your possible best to make sure that they are avoided.

Are you filing for an extension or not?

You need to be able to decide whether you need an extension or not. If you require more time to complete the process, then you need to file for an extension that allows you a grace period after the April 15 deadline.

The extension allows you to file your tax return on or before October 15.

While this information is not exhaustive, it is important that you work closely with your tax preparer to ensure that all of the needed documents are provided so that they can do their job the right way.