Make your taxes less taxing.

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Will tax time be a pain or a breeze this year? If you take a few easy steps ahead of time, filing your income taxes can be a lot easier and quicker. Find out what to do now.

Get organized now to make tax time easier.

It might feel a little early to be thinking about income taxes, but if you put in some time to gather all the paperwork you’ll need now, you’ll feel less stressed when you work on your tax return or need to give your documents to a tax preparer. Getting started early also gives you the time to get copies of any documents you may be missing.

What kind of documents do you need?

Basically, they fall into five categories:

  1. Personal information about you and your dependents
  2. Income information
  3. Income adjustments
  4. Information on deductions (if you itemize) and credits
  5. Information about taxes paid

Some of these documents will start arriving in the mail in January and February, so gather them in a single file as they arrive. If you prefer to keep your information on your computer, scan the paper documents and store them in a file on your desktop. It’s still a good idea to keep the paper originals in case something happens to your scanned copies.

Your document checklists.

This checklist can help you make sure you have all the paperwork you need.

Personal information:

Income information:

Income adjustments: These expenses can lower your total taxable income, so you pay less in taxes. You’ll need receipts or other documents showing what you paid for:

Deductions and credits:

Taxes paid:
Documents showing:

When you have all the right forms, receipts, and information together when you start your tax return, you’ll be able to make sure the information you file is correct, and you get the biggest refund you’re entitled to.

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