There are essentially three easy steps when preparing your taxes: getting key documents in a file, identifying ways to save and doing the return.
Even though I use a professional tax preparer, I still do these tasks:
Collect statements. I just toss all of these into one file. Include Forms 1099 from banks, issuing agencies and other payers including unemployment compensation, dividends, distributions from a pension, annuity or retirement plan; Form 1099-K, 1099-MISC, W-2 or other income statement for workers in the gig economy; Form 1099-INT for interest received; and other income documents and records of virtual currency transactions.
Get Set Up With the IRS. You can get a direct deposit of refund checks if you’re due one. Also get a “Personal Identification Number” if filing electronically. Bank account and routing numbers will be needed for direct deposit refunds. Direct deposit is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their money and avoids a check getting lost, stolen or returned to IRS as undeliverable. Don’t have a bank account? Learn how to open an account at an FDIC-Insured bank or through the National Credit Union Locator Tool. Veterans can access the Veterans Benefits Banking Program.
Double Check Social Security Numbers. Having gone through a year with an error in a SSN can mess you up, so make sure all of your forms are correct. “Social Security numbers of everyone listed on the tax return,” notes the IRS. “Many taxpayers have memorized these numbers. Still, it’s a good idea to have them on hand to double check that the numbers on the tax return are correct. An SSN with one number wrong or two numbers switched will cause processing delays.”
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