Monday, December 28, 2015

Tax Season 2016: Start filing January 19

Most people don't want to think about what January brings... credit card bills and tax forms.  Yep, it's almost that time again to file your taxes!  According to CNN Money, you can start filing your tax returns as early as January 19.  So once you've eaten all the leftovers and a ton of candy, it's time to get things organized for 2016.  Here are some tips to help you get organized and ready to file.

Tip:  We take a big envelope and write the year and "taxes" on it.  That way, as the tax forms are printed off the 'net or arrive in the snail mail, we have a home already for them to go to while we wait for everything we need to file taxes.  That way, there's no, "honey, have you seen the 1099 from our mortgage company?" when it's time to do the taxes. 

Tip:  Look for deals on tax preparation software, which are generally bundled with companies such as Quicken (it may be a good time to update your software). 

Tip:  Make some last minute donations and save your receipts in your file folder.  Keep accurate records of everything you donated.  Have an old junker sitting around?  Find a worthy organization to take it off your hands and get a receipt for tax purposes.

Tip:  Print off all of your forms that arrive electronically as you receive them and file them in your tax folder for later.

Tip:  Sell or buy a house this year?  Dig up your closing paperwork so that you'll have what you need in 2016 to file.

Tip:  Look at last year's taxes.  You'll have an idea of the forms that you will need to print out and which ones you should expect to get by mail.  Sometimes you won't have earned enough interest to get a tax form in one year, but may reach that threshold the next.  Check your year end account balances, which typically have a total of interest earned in that year.  If it's over $10, make a note to expect a 1099.

Generally, the earlier you file, the quicker you get your refund back.  Be sure to put some away for your emergency fund!
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