It takes a special kind of person to get excited about tax time. In fact, many of us tend to loath this time of the year… finding all the crinkled receipts… squinting at the faded ink as you decipher what it might have said 8-11 months ago… Discovering things you tried to forget about… when on this earth did I spend $227 at a restaurant near my daughter’s college? When the heck did I order 20 premium face masks and 14 cases of Ramen noodles off of Amazon? My car rental in Miami was how much?!
These are just a couple small rude awakenings to someone’s spending habits, and possibly someone’s college student having access to their credit card… But instead of being upset by these findings year after year, use these as motivation to force yourself to take action now (and only go to Miami when you’re a millionaire…).
Gather your records in advance
Preparing your taxes on month-by-month basis forces you to see what you’re spending throughout the year and really helps to build self-discipline with your spending habits! It also completely eliminates the gnawing, dreading gut feeling that slowly builds as April looms closer and closer…
Finish funding retirement accounts
Employer sponsored programs have a December 31st deadline, but if you have an IRA, these can be funded until April 15th. If you didn’t fund your account to the maximum limit, do it now for a little extra tax shelter, as well as to help your future self!
Get the right forms
Not sure which form you need? This tax forms page for WI residents explains each of the income tax forms so you can make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Still not sure? Most commonly you’ll need the W2 provided by your employer, and a 1099 for anyone working as a contractor with wages that did not have tax withholdings throughout the year.
Take your time
With your records already collected, there’s no need to frantically rush around! Check over everything, and it’s usually a good idea to have a professional take a look.
Look over last year’s tax forms
This will help remind yourself of things you might forget otherwise, like unusual deductions, interest payments and dividends, etc. Your accountant should have these readily available. If you filed with D&M Accounting last year, we will provide a personalized tax organizer which gives you a snapshot of what your forms included last year.
Double check your math and SSN
This may seem silly, but incorrect social security numbers are one of the most common typos on tax forms!
Get the fastest refund by sending in your tax forms early
Get your forms in before the rush and you’ll be enjoying your refund while your friends wait another month.
Don’t be that person that files for the very last possible tax extension, and then curses everyone in their life the week of their last possible due date as they scramble to collect their records which are now almost two years old… It’s not a fun time for anyone involved!