Get Organized for Tax Season

Posted March 1, 2016 by Julie in Finances, Organize, TopPosts / 15 Comments

The first few months of the year have come and gone, giving us the opportunity to recover from the holidays. Next comes another stressful time of the year. It is a time of gathering documents and counting up your children. It is a time when Mothers who gave birth in early January may wish they had given birth on December 31st instead.

Do you know what time it is? If you’re in the US, I’m talking about tax season. This could either be a painful time or a time to celebrate – depending on whether you owe the IRS money, or if you’re getting a refund.

Get Organized for Tax Season

I got our taxes done last weekend and am happy to be getting a nice refund. Baby H is a good deduction. I also still have myself set as “single” on my tax paperwork with my job, since that withholds slightly more taxes out of each paycheck, but ensures we will not owe anything when we file our tax return. I like to file taxes as early as I can and then move on with other more interesting things that happen in April – like my birthday (which is just before the tax filing deadline).

Will you be filing a simple tax return?

Some people will have a simple time of this as they may rent rather than own a house, may not have dependents, and so will only have their income documents. If all you have is a W-2, then you may be able to e-file a 1040 tax return for free, and quickly to boot.

This was definitely not the case for us, so I wanted to share with you a checklist of the types of documents you will need to organize before you can finish filing your taxes.

Get Organized for Tax Season, a Checklist of Documents you will need

You’ll start with gathering your family details, including the social security number for yourself and your spouse, and your children. You may also need your tax return from previous years. You also want to have your bank information ready for direct deposit of your refund, if you’re getting one.

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Income Documents are where you start with your tax return.

  • W-2 wages from your employer.
  • 1099s for any other miscellaneous income.
  • Or unemployment.
  • Any blogging income you have tracked or income from any other businesses you run.
  • Any stocks sold.
  • Did you win anything?
  • Receive alimony?
  • Do you have a rental property and earn rental income?

Do you own a house? Have student loans? These are deductions on your tax return.

  • 1098 from your Mortgage company, including interest paid.
  • Student loan lenders will send you a tax form with your interest paid.

Taxes Paid can be deducted as well.

  • Did you pay property taxes that weren’t already itemized on your mortgage statement?
  • Did you buy any large-ticket items?

Do you have children?

  • Children are a huge deduction.
  • Childcare expenses can be itemized on your deductions as well.

Other documents or information to organize before sitting down to file your taxes.

  • Have you donated to any causes? Bring your receipts.
  • Any unreimbursed expenses from work?
  • Business expenses including any conferences attended and home office details.
  • Did you contribute to an IRA? or a Medical Savings Account?
  • Did you move?

As you can see, there are a lot of documents that need to be organized before you can file your tax return. Tax software is very helpful because you are asked a series of questions that helps identify other documents you may have missed. I have filed our taxes in the past using software, and I found it was very easy to follow and complete. This was when we had straightforward documents and we figured we could figure out the rest. I definitely recommend going to a tax preparer if your return is going to be super complicated.  The DIY tax route is a great one, however, if you don’t have your own business and don’t have too many items you need to itemize and deduct.

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I’ve always used the H&R block software when I DIY’ed our taxes. I like that they have audit support and you can ask questions while still being able to do everything from home.

Want more detail? Check out this infographic I found!

Tax Documents Infographic
Tax Document Checklist: What Do I Need to Bring to my Tax Appointment? via H&R Block

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JuliepicI'm Julie, a new mom who works full time and blogs, all while wishing I had more time to read fun books. I write about being a first time working mom in order to help myself and other working moms in our journeys to find balance between family, responsibilities, and hobbies so we can thrive both at home and at work.
I can be found blogging at Fab Working Mom Life and Chapter Break, and hanging out on social media: Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


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15 responses to “Get Organized for Tax Season

  1. What a timely reminder! I’ve never been so late at getting my taxes done, but it’s been SUCH a busy time these last couple of months. Now, I just need to get my own tax appointment and start getting all those papers together.

    • I like to get my taxes done early too, but there’s still plenty of time 🙂 I think making that appointment is what is really motivating to gather all the paperwork.

  2. We did our taxes at the very beginning of February, and I’m glad we didn’t put it off. This is a really great checklist you found! I’m saving this so I can find it next year. 🙂

  3. We’re in Canada and it’s tax season for us too. I don’t mind it – we do everything through a program and all year I collect receipts in a large envelope – so logging everything in really doesn’t take much time.

    You shared some helpful insights here! Thanks!

  4. Great post! I am a CPA and would LOOOOVE it if all my clients were as well informed as you!
    I definitely tax planned my two children who were both born in November! 🙂 It’s also helpful with late year babies to have all the health care expenses in one calendar year.

    • Thanks Kelly 🙂 I hope after a tax meeting with you, your clients come away with more knowledge and are better prepared for next time 🙂

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