- Days left
Unfortunately, we all have to go through the painstaking process of doing our taxes. For those who want to get it over with now, Ken and Daria Dolan have some simple steps you can take that will take some of the stress out of tax season.

In a Dolans.com survey, 34% of respondents said that they start working on their taxes in January. We applaud all of you early birds and we want to encourage the rest of you to follow suit.

Trust us, tackling tax season in bite-sized chunks will make the whole process much less daunting and save you a lot of time and headache down the road. Here are a few simple, painless tricks that can give you a big head start on your 2009 taxes now.


1. Create a system for organizing tax documents as they come in.

There is nothing worse than sitting down to do your taxes, then realizing that you have to start scouring through the house because you can't find an important document. The key is to have a system in place before the first tax document ever shows up at your house. Your system can be as unsophisticated as a large envelope or an accordion file. Just designate a spot and make sure that everyone in the house knows about it.

2. Review all tax documents as they come in.

As tax documents show up, don't just stuff them into that great new tax record keeper. Take a moment to review each document as it comes in so that you can correct discrepancies well before you start preparing your return. If there is a mistake, getting a corrected W-2 or 1099 form can take time, so don't wait until you are down to the wire.

3. Calculate whether you will have to pay back any of the "Making Work Pay" tax credit.

As part of last year's stimulus package, many American's received extra money in their paychecks. But approximately 15 million taxpayers will have to repay between $250-$400 of the tax credit they received. To avoid getting a nasty surprise when you file, use the IRS Schedule M to determine whether or not you will have to repay Uncle Sam.

4. Make sure that you know all the 2009 changes that could impact your taxes.

Every year sees new tax changes, but 2009 was especially busy. As the government tried to save the economy, tax credits and rebates were flying. Cash for Clunkers, the homebuyer's tax credit, energy rebates.... be sure that you know the 2009 tax rules so that you can take advantage of every credit and deduction possible.

5. Decide whether you are going to go it alone or hire a pro.

Thanks to our ridiculously complicated tax code even the current IRS Commissioner recently admitted that he hires tax prep help. About 60% of us have to pay a professional to help us prepare our taxes. If you are going to use a professional, make your appointment early.

If you are going to go it alone, decide whether you are going to use tax software. If so, you can get ahead of the game by purchasing your tax software now. Tax software can help you find every deduction to which you are entitled and helps you avoid common mistakes that can trip you up, such as simple math mistakes (electronic returns have 13% fewer mistakes).

6. Get your tax forms now.

If you are filing by mail and not electronically, get the tax forms you will need now. You can find commonly-used tax forms at your local library. You can also download all tax forms through the IRS's web site or have a copy mailed to you by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676.

7. Start gathering your tax information now.

There's no reason to wait until the heat of the battle to start organizing the tax information that you already have. Make a list of all your 2009 tax payments and tax refunds, comb through your credit card bills and checkbook to look for possible deductions, tally up charitable donations and collect all the Social Security numbers you'll need in one place.

8. Start early

There's no sense in putting off the inevitable. Use these tips to get a big of a head start on the tax season now and save yourself headache and heartache as the tax deadline looms.

As you dive into your 2009 taxes, let us share 11 overlooked tax deductions and show you how to make your tax deductions airtight.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Retirement Funds

Target date funds help you maintain a long term portfolio.

View Course »

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

What is Form 1095-C: Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, requires certain employers to offer health insurance coverage to full-time employees and their dependents. Further, those employers must send an annual statement to all employees eligible for coverage describing the insurance available to them. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) created Form 1095-C to serve as that statement.

What is IRS Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the power to seize income tax refunds when a taxpayer owes certain debts, such as unpaid taxes or overdue child support. Sometimes, a married couple's joint tax refund will be seized because of a debt for which only one spouse is responsible. When that happens, the other spouse is said to be "injured" and can file Form 8379 to get at least some of the refund.

What are 1095 Tax Forms for Health Care?

The Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare, introduced three new tax forms relevant to individuals, employers and health insurance providers. They are forms 1095-A, 1095-B and 1095-C. These forms help determine if you need to comply with the new shared responsibility payment, the fee you might have to pay if you don't have health insurance. For individuals who bought insurance through the health care marketplace, this information will help to determine whether you are able to receive an additional premium tax credit or have to pay some back.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum