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Tax season is upon us. Now that it is already March, it is getting down to the nitty gritty. Everyone should have their W-2’s in hand, it is just a matter of taking that extra step and filing. Since there have been a lot of changes in the tax laws, you might see a significant change on your write-offs, deductibles, exemptions and what you can claim. Having a preparer be a second set of eyes on your taxes this year, might be a good idea. Here are some steps to take to ensure that you have a seamless tax return experience.

START EARLY

Ensure that you have your W-2 and all necessary documents from your employer. Ideally, you should be staying organized throughout the year by gathering and organizing your receipts. This will make the process a lot less stressful and save you money when it comes to your preparer’s time.

MAKE A LIST

Having all of you personal information documented will save you a lot of headache in the filing process. When it comes to larger purchases like buying and selling property you will need to know off-hand the dates and prices of the transaction. Also are you claiming dependents? Jot down their social security numbers as well. Having all of this information on the front end, will save you valuable time.

FIND A PREPARER

There are many online applications that help you file. However, these applications are geared toward assisting people that have one job, are single, and do not own any property. I would advise people who own their own business, are claiming dependents, own multiple homes and have multiple write-offs to see a preparer. It will give you peace of mind having a professional ensure that you are filing correctly and getting the most out of your return. In order to find the write preparer, ask for referrals and look for ones with the best reviews in your area! Ensure that you make your appt early, because if not you could find yourself filing for an extension.

CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS

If your company sponsored or made any donations to a charity, your preparer will help you identify anything tax deductable. If the contribution was over $250, the non-profits should be sending you documentation of proof. Make sure you bring those forms to your preparer.

FINANCING

Ensure you have proper documentation for all loans or business credit that you purchased. Knowing what all loans were used for will assist your preparer in understanding what can be written off.

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