The IRS has not officially announced this year's tax season start date yet, but BGGE tax season starts on January 2nd every year. As a bookkeeper, I crunch numbers before, during, and after the national tax season deadlines. Since most of my business clients are sole-proprietors, I create their chart of accounts and reports in-line with the Schedule C.
But tax planning is for everyone. Having your records organized, not only makes preparing your return easier, but a paid preparer may reduce your fees because of this. It may also help you discover potentially overlooked deductions or credits.
Remember, most income is taxable even if you do not receive a form. Written documentation is often required to support deductions and credits, especially if you are audited. So keep records at least 3 years after filing your return.
Below are some steps you can take now to make tax filing easier in 2021. This list is not all-inclusive, and not everything on it pertains to your tax situation.
- Gather Your Tax Records
Common Income Forms
- Form W-2, From Employers
- Form 1099-MISC, Rents, Royalties & Other Miscellaneous Income
- Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions
- Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions
- Form 1099-INT, Interest Income
- Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.
- Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement
Other Documents and Receipts
- Profit & Loss Statement
- Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement
- Notice 1444, Your Economic Tax Payment
- Broker & Virtual Currency Transactions Summary
- Tuition, School Fees, Book (print out and/or receipts)
- Medical Bills & Mileage Log
- Taxes Paid
- Charitable Contributions
- Create or View Online Tax Account
- View information from your most recently filed tax return.
- View the amounts of the Economic Impact Payments received.
- View adjusted gross income from 2019 (required when electronically filing).
- Use Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) Tool to determine ...
- If you have to file a tax return.
- If your filing status is correct.
- If you can claim a dependent.
- If your income is taxable.
- If you're eligible to claim a credit, expense, etc.
- Get Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN).
- Check Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) Status, if applicable.
- Notify the IRS of Address Changes.
- Notify the Social Security Administration of Legal Name Changes.
- Check Refund Status - The IRS cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Although the IRS claim to issue most refunds in less than 21 days, some returns may require additional review and may take longer.
- Federal Where's My Refund? - The status of your refund will be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed tax return. If you filed a paper return, it can take up to four weeks or more after it is mailed.
- Alabama -Where's My Refund? - Refunds are processed starting March 1st every year. Please wait until then to check the status of your refund.
- Pay Taxes - Some tax preparation programs may give you payment options before submitting return.
- For Next Year, make sure you've had enough taxes withheld.
- Use the Tax Withholding Estimator to help determine if you need to adjust your withholding and submit a new Form W-4 to your employer.
- Consider estimated tax payments if you receive a substantial amount of non-wage income like self-employment income, investment income, taxable Social Security benefits, etc.