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Make Your Tax Prep Easy on Yourself

Make your tax time easier: Follow this step-by-step guide to getting started on your tax prep and getting yourself a little organized. It will take less time with your tax accountant, and might end up saving you money. And if you are really organized, you can e-file your tax return as early as January 31.

  • If you did any freelance or consulting work in 2013, make sure you’ve filled out the W-9 form and returned it to that company. If you had any other income (alimony, other self-employment, etc.) start pulling together the documentation for that, too.
  • Gather together your paycheck stubs. You’ll want to check them against your W-2 when it arrives. Check the amounts and check your Social Security number. Also check that anything that was supposed to be deducted was deducted.
  • If you have bank accounts, check to see if you have all your bank statements. If not, start finding them now (hopefully you’ll be able to download online).
  • Check that you have your Social Security cards for each member of your family, including any new family additions. If not, start the process to get them now here.
  • If you need to replace a missing Social Security card, you can get started online here.
  • Make sure that you have a current photo ID (driver’s license, etc.). Again, if you don’t, or can’t find it, get started now to replace it here.
  • Consider if you had any work-related expenses last year. Hopefully you saved those receipts—start gathering them together, or print out receipts for purchases made online. Did you buy a uniform for a job; use your home computer for work; or buy tools for work? Did you have to travel for work, to a customer or to a meeting? If you drove your car for work (and weren’t reimbursed by your employer) start calculating the distances you traveled.
  • If you have a home office or workspace, you’ll need to figure out how much of your utilities your home office uses. Start gathering your utility bills from last year. If you can’t find all of them, you may be able to get your information from the utility’s website. Do that now, before the company archives your records. Also measure out the space your home office takes up.
  • Now is also a good time to check through your receipts, credit card, or bank statements to see if there are any purchases you made for work, or for charitable donation, that you might have forgotten.
  • Did you make any charity donations last year? Or purchase something that you donated to a charity (canned food for a food bank, for example)? Or did you donate clothing or other items to a charity? Start figuring out just what all that adds up to, and getting all the receipts together.
  • The amount of medical and dental bills you can claim as a deduction must exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. The threshold has increased since last year, but it’s still worth gathering together receipts for what you have spent and asking your tax preparer. Don’t forget prescriptions, chiropractic treatments, dental treatments, and insurance co-pays.
  • Do you pay child care, tuition, have a student loan, or receive financial aid for education? Start putting together those documents.

By starting to get organized now, you’ll be sure not to forget anything come tax time. You don’t want to miss any deductions you can claim!

We’re an authorized e-file agent with over ten years of experience. Because we’re open year around, our fees are always less than the tax preparation specialists, and we can make sure you get your tax refund fast. E-filing will start on January 31 this year.

Request a callback to set up an appointment, or download your tax interview sheet on PayDayHawaii’s website.

Questions? Just stop by any PayDayHawaii location for more information about your tax preparation.

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