It may be happening to you, right now- – tax-terror brain fog. You know you should be getting your documents together for your tax preparer, but…every time you try to start… everything starts to go in slow motion, the list of things to do is endless, there’s no hope, you’ll never be ready, better just quit right now…
- Don’t give in to that voice in your head! You can do this – just start at the beginning. Let’s take a look at the basics that you need. (And if you don’t have your supplies together yet, take a quick look at our “Tax Preparation Tips.”)
- The Form. That’s right, Form 1040, available on-line from the IRS, or at your local library. Online, follow this link and print it out: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040.pdf.
- Next, look at the mail that you collected in your Tax Forms Box – don’t panic, you don’t need it all right now! Just look for the one that says W2, or, if you are self-employed or have part time wages, there will be one that says 1099.
- If you own your home, keep hunting through the mail to find another thing you’ll need – the Annual Mortgage Statement. This is sent to you from the institution that holds your mortgage. This Interest Paid number is going to be a very good friend of yours – keep it handy.
- The last big thing you need is your Tax Return from Last Year. That’s the tax return for income and deductions in 2010, the one you filed in 2011. Agreed, it can get a little confusing. You’ll use this as a handy reference while you work on the 2011 taxes. (And if you didn’t file last year, you need to follow this link for Litchfield County CT tax lawyer: http://www.millertaxlaw.com/past-due-income-tax-returns.)
- Lastly, take 3 of the file folders (or the hanging folders, if you’re into that) and label them:“Checklist and Forms” (for the Form 1040 and all others you will fill out), “Documentation” (for W2, 1099s, Mortgage Interest Statement, and more ), and “Reference” (last year’s tax return, emails from your tax preparer, articles, this blogpost., etc).
- Oh, and about that kitchen timer? That’s for when you read through this list, think ‘forget it!’ and start to walk away. Here’s the way to get over that hump…take the timer, set it for 15 minutes, and go. Do something tax related, anything, for 15 minutes. There, you’ve begun!
Stay tuned for the next blogpost where we give you the Tax Preparation Checklist, and assemble more of the information that you’ll need.