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First Steps to Easy Tax Preparation

Make tax time easier on yourself by gradually 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 30.

  • If you did any freelance or consulting work in 2012, 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. If you need to replace a missing card, you can get started at the Social Security website.
  • 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.
  • Consider if you had any work-related expenses last year. Hopefully you saved those receipts—start gathering them together, and 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 were not 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.
  • 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 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. It’s 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!

New this year: All PayDayHawaii clients qualify for $20 off our already low tax preparation fees. Check at one of our locations for details.

We’re an authorized e-file agent with over nine years of experience. Because we’re open year-round, 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 30 this year.

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

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