Every tax season people want to know how to prepare for the process and whether tax experts can handle everything on their behalf. When tax season comes, the best thing to have done by then is to be ready.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose to file taxes on your own or seek the help of a professional tax preparer. What you need is to be well prepared and to do it early to avoid the unnecessary frustration that may come with late filing or incorrect income tax returns.
Here is a brief take on what the tax process is like and what you need:
- Put your documents in order
- Compile your personal data
- Source external help
- Plan to meet your tax preparer
- Request for a tax-filing extension
- Application for tax refund
1. Put your documents in order
It all goes without saying that you need to prepare all the required documents to compile your tax obligations. This applied whether you are doing the filing yourself or with outsourced expertise.
One thing you should ascertain is that the information in different forms you get from employers or employees match with your well-kept records. This increases your accuracy when filing the tax. To avoid missing out on any information, your previous year’s income tax returns will be of great help.
There are key documents that you cannot miss-out which include:
Also known as the Wage and Tax Statement, is a summary of all your earnings and previously paid taxes. Each of your employers should send it to you by 31st January. Constantly check your mails to avoid delayed delivery of any document and countercheck it, to ensure it has got no errors.
This applies to new employees which gives a summary of their tax payment schedule.
In case you had a subsidiary source of income other than from your employer, then you need to fill Form 1099. There are different 1099 forms, depending on your source of income. These include 1099-INT, 1099-G. Thus you’ll go for one that suits you.
- Form 1098
2. Compile your personal data
As you prepare to file taxes, your personal information is very important. You need your social security number and that of your spouse, as well as their name, dependent’s information, and information showing earned income by other adults.
3. Source external help
Several companies offer Tax filing services to those who need their services. You don’t have to stress yourself with myriad options available. There is also online filing software that one can get and use in the company.
The choice of your preferred income tax filing method would be determined by:
- How complex your returns are
- Amount of income
- Extremes that could change your income or expenses
4. Plan to meet your tax preparer
You should plan to meet with your preferred tax preparer early enough so that you hand over all the necessary details and be able to file returns in good time. If you need to file for a refund, you should also do that early enough.
5. Request for a tax-filing extension
Requesting to file your tax returns at a later date is possible if you realize you have not assembled all the required documents. To avoid receiving a tax default penalty, you should approximate the amount of tax owed and pay it by April 15 as you go on preparing your documents.
6. Application for tax refund
In case of excess payment or deductions of tax, you are liable to apply for a tax refund. There are several ways in which you can get your refund.
One way is to have the refund deposited directly into your account. It can also be channeled through different accounts. Al in all, that should be included in your income tax return form to avoid delays.
All said and done, you are at liberty to file your income tax returns or seek a helping hand. That does not mean if an external expert is doing it for you you’ll not do anything.
You need to gather all necessary documents in good time, check for errors and correct if any, and hand them over to your preparer. Don’t forget to crosscheck your previous year’s tax returns with the current one; it gives you an easy time to compile tax data and documents.