Do you want to get organized to make the tax preparation process as painless as possible? First step is when you receive all those tax documents in the mail, put them in a file folder labeled 2014 taxes and put it in a safe place or filing cabinet where you know it is. Next step, if you keep your personal finances on an accounting program like Quicken or Quickbooks, print out the needed reports and file them with your other documents. Some examples are business income/expenses if you are a sole proprietor, charitable donations, etc. Third step is to gather other documents that won’t come with a nice “TAX DOCUMENT” statement on it:
- Non-cash charitable contribution amounts/statements. If you give donations to Goodwill, a food bank, etc. keep all those receipts together in your tax document file folder.
- Car Registration tags. In states like Colorado you can deduct the value-based tax portion of your car registration if you itemize.
- HUD documents. Did you buy a home or refinance? Have these documents ready for deductions like points or interest not reported elsewhere.
- Car Mileage log. Do drive your own car through your own business or have unreimbursed employee miles? Keep a log using the medium that works best for you–app on phone, excel spreadsheet, paper spreadsheet kept in car, beginning/ending odometer reading for the year–and put the 2014 log with your tax documents.
Do you think you have everything you need? Double check last year’s return to make sure you have statements from all mortgage companies, brokers, charitable organizations, etc. if they are the same as last year. I also have a great checklist that you can look at to make sure everything is together. Also, if you bought health insurance on the exchange this year, a new form will be sent to you 1095-A with special instructions to fill out a form on your tax return so make sure you have that.
Good luck and happy organizing!