Let’s Get Ready For Tax Season

Tax season is upon us and we have begun to receive those pieces of mail marked “Tax Information – Important”.  So now what?  Here are some suggestions to help ease the stress of tax season.

Where do we start?  The best place to start is to find a copy of last year’s return.  Even if you have someone else prepare your returns, it is a good idea to have a copy of last year’s return.  This gives us a guide as to sources of income, whether we may have disposed of assets previously providing income, etc.  Also, it can be a guide as to when you have received all income tax information.

If you can’t find a copy and need a transcript, you can get one by ordering transcripts online Get Transcript Online on IRS.gov; by calling (800) 908-9946; or by mail.

If you have previously received a refund in the past, due to the new tax changes, you may not get a refund or as big a refund as in previous years.  Also if there is a refund on returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, the refund will not be issued before mid-February. More broadly, precautions instituted by the IRS and its Security Summit partners to combat tax-related identity theft may delay refunds.

The Individual Income Tax Form 1040 has a new look this year.

The current 1040, 1040-A and 1040-EZ are all being replaced by a single, shorter 1040 this year, which can be supplemented by up to six extra schedules.

Those who file their own taxes electronically will need to validate their electronic return with their prior-year AGI, as noted above, or their prior-year Self-Select PIN. (Their AGI would be on Line 37 of last year’s 1040, Line 21 of the 1040-A and Line 4 of the 1040-EZ.)

My final suggestion is that you designate a specific location where you will accumulate all of your tax information until you are ready to deliver to your tax preparer or begin to prepare your taxes.  Keeping information in one place will lessen stress associated with taxes.

 

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Kay Sowa

About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent as well as a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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