5 Items for Your Tax Preparation Checklist

eHow Money Blog

By now, you probably have all of your necessary tax documents somewhere in your inbox or around the house. And if you are anticipating a refund, may want to start doing your taxes as soon as possible. But before you settle in to your war room and get your tax filing on, it might be helpful to run through a checklist of everything you need. Mistakes on your tax forms can be costly, and you don’t want to miss a single deduction or credit.

Lisa Greene-Lewis, CPA and Turbo Tax Blog Editor, offered a handy checklist of items you should have at the ready as you file.

1) Organized Tax Forms. “One thing I always suggest is to organize your documents,” says Greene-Lewis. “I keep a single folder for all my tax documents; and as I receive my W-2s, 1099s and any other tax-related receipts, I file them away for safe keeping until I have everything I need.”

2) Social Security Numbers. While you may have your social security number committed to memory, you should also have the correct social security numbers for your spouse and/or any dependents. “One of the top mistakes on tax returns is incorrect social security numbers, particularly in regards to dependents,” says Greene-Lewis. “Numerous tax credits and deductions are tied to dependents, and when you make mistakes you can’t collect those benefits.”

3) List of tax-related life events. – “People forget about things they do during the year,” says Greene-Lewis. “But seemingly mundane events like donations of household goods to charitable organizations, summer camp for the kids, and even your job search can have tax implications.” Having a list can better prepare those who plan to itemize their deductions this year.

4) Your 2013 Tax Return. Your 2013 tax return can be a helpful comparison once you’ve filed your 2014 tax return. If there is a large disparity between the two and you haven’t experienced a major life change, you may want to double check your math.

5) New home paperwork. If you bought a home, you’ll need to have your 1098 form on hand along with closing statement for your purchase. “The closing statement should include property taxes and points paid if they are not already indicated on the 1098 form,” Greene-Lewis says.

For additional resources, check out eHow’s Tax Center where you’ll find tax tools, free and easy ways to file, and information about breaks, deductions and credits you may have never known before.

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