The weather is cooling down and winter is fast approaching. Before long, the holidays will have come and gone, 2017 will be here and with it, tax season. While this isn’t the most exciting time of the year, it’s an important one that all American adults must take part in. Luckily, getting prepared early can ease the burden of filing your taxes next spring.
The IRS typically begins accepting tax returns toward the middle of January, Bankrate pointed out. The sooner you get your taxes in, the sooner you’ll get your refund and, perhaps best of all, the sooner you’ll be able to stop worrying about them.
Year in review
Your taxes will reflect any major life changes you had in the past year. Getting married, welcoming a new child into your family, buying a home and switching jobs are four major milestones that will be taken into account when you file your taxes, Ideal Tax Solution explained.
If you got married, you’ll be able to decide if you and your spouse will file separately or jointly. Depending on your situation, one may be more advantageous than the other, but it’s important to do your research to determine the best strategy for you.
“Your taxes will reflect any major life changes you had in the past year.”
When you file with dependents or file jointly with your spouse, you’ll need to have the Social Security numbers for every person on your tax return.
If you have a mortgage, you’ll get a Form 1098 from your lender. This will help you claim any tax benefits you’re eligible for through your home purchase.
The IRS needs to know how much you have paid in taxes over the past year to determine how much the government owes you, or how much you owe the government. To figure this out, you’ll need to turn to your W-2s to see how much tax has been taken out from each paycheck.
Employers begin distributing W-2s in January, and everyone should have theirs by the end of the month. You’ll need a W-2 for every single employer you worked for in 2016. If you’ve done independent work or contract work, you won’t get a W-2, but you’ll still need to claim the income you made. A 1099-MISC will show this. The company that you contracted for should send you this.
Though you won’t be getting these for a few months, it doesn’t hurt to get ready for them. Make sure you have a designated place in your home that is safe and out of the way that you can collect these important forms as they come in.
Filing taxes isn’t the most enjoyable task of the new year, but it’s one everyone will have to complete. By getting prepared early, you can get this done faster and with less stress.