|Wed, May 23, 2018 08:20 AM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Get a head start on your taxes
by David Uffington
01/10/2007 - t's that time again. By the end of the month you should have all your W-2 and 1099 forms in hand and be ready to file your taxes.
That's if you've been organized. If you're starting from scratch here's a method to make it easier.
Take last year's return and write down on separate sheets all the categories where you had an entry. Those are likely the same numbers you'll need to come up with this year.
Whether you use a computer tax program or pencil and paper, the steps are the same: Gather all your receipts, check register, medical bills and statements for savings interest, credit cards, mortgage interest, property tax and bank accounts, and write down all the amounts on the corresponding sheet. Add them twice with a paper tape calculator, and fill in the blanks on the tax forms or the software program.
Some additional things to consider:
• If you get a paycheck with tax information on the stub, compare it to your W-2 when it arrives. Mistakes happen. Make sure the Year-to-Date on your stub matches the amount on the W-2 form. If you're self-employed, compare your bank statement deposits with the total on your Form 1099. If any are incorrect, call the company for a corrected form.
• If you use a computer tax program, check periodically for online updates to make sure you have the newest information.
• If you use an accountant or tax preparer, do some of the work yourself. If you go in with your numbers organized, your bill is likely to be less.
• If you do your own taxes with paper and pencil, get your forms early. The last thing you need to add to the stress is to scramble for forms at the last minute. If you have computer access, go to the IRS site to download forms: www.irs.gov, and click on Forms on the left side of the screen.
• Free File users will notice a change this year. The Rapid Anticipation Loan (RAL) information has been removed by agreement between the IRS and the software companies.
To learn what's new for this tax season, go to www.irs.gov and click on Individuals. On the next screen, click 1040 Central. You'll see a link to Tax Law Changes.
David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475 or send e-mail to letters.kfws @hearstsc.com.
(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.