2013We’re turning the calendar to a new year! And for most people that means turning over a new leaf too. Are you with the majority of Americans who will include healthy habits alongside better organization as a few of your New Year resolutions? I don’t know about you but after trimming the tree, I certainly need to turn my attention to trimming the waistline. And making room for all those new gifts will require a bit of creative organizing (and tossing out – don’t tell the kids).  

One area to organize this year that might payoff faster than any of those other New Year resolutions is tax preparation. You can get a jumpstart on those resolutions by organizing the tax paperwork you’ll need to file. After all, when you have everything together it makes filing easier and ensures you don’t miss out on any deduction you qualify for. And if you get a refund, the payoff is worth it. 

First step, find a folder or envelope to hold all the information and then find a safe place to park it. As you run across items, such as Salvation Army receipts, you know right where to place them. Here are a few items to pull together: 

  • Social Security numbers – yours, your spouses and your dependents 
  • Tax ID number of your child care provider 
  • W-2 from your employer – you should have this by January 31 
  • Form 1099-MISC – if you worked as a contractor 
  • Form 1099-INT – for interest earned on most savings accounts 
  • Form 1099-DIV - for each stock, mutual fund or money market account. (If you used a broker, the broker transactions will be sent on Form 1099-B.) 
  • Form 1098 – mortgage interest paid for each home you own 
  • Receipts for any state and local income taxes paid (such as your home, car, boat, etc.) 
  • Receipts for any charitable donation 
  • Mileage you traveled for volunteer work – you can’t claim your time, but you can deduct your mileage. (Use your calendar as documentation, mark the mileage driven on the days you volunteered.) 

You did it! You’ve gathered all the necessary documents. You’re good to go. Just walk on into a Liberty Tax® office, where you get the fastest refund, and you’ll be able to cross tax preparation off your resolution list.  

It’s been said that organization clears the clutter of the mind. Doesn’t the anxiety just melt away? Sigh - if only those stubborn pounds would!