Preparing your tax return can be labor-intensive and sometimes stressful. The best policy is to start organized and designate an appropriate amount of uninterrupted time to get the job done. Sure, between kids and jobs and being on-the-go, it’s often easier said than done. But here are a few tips from our financial coaches at GreenPath to make the process a little smoother.
1) Take your time.
If your tax return contains errors, it could delay your return. And the tax code can be complicated; so if you choose to prepare your taxes, take your time and be thorough. There are also many variables to consider, including income, deductions, tax brackets, dependents, and more.
2) Double-check your numbers.
It’s easy to make mistakes with numbers. You could make a calculation error, transpose a number ($54 vs. $45), or accidentally add or subtract a digit ($789 vs. $89). Double-check all of your work to be safe.
3) Watch for missing or incorrect information.
Make sure you sign your return and that your Social Security Number is legible. To have your refund direct deposited into your ECCU account, be sure the information is accurate. Click here to see our routing and transit information.
4) Don’t miss the deadline.
April 15th is the deadline every year. If you do not file by this date, you’ll have to pay interest and fees. The IRS charges interest from the date it is due until the time it is paid off, and will tack on a late filing fee as well. If you need to file a six-month extension, make sure to file it on or before April 15th.
5) Claim all your tax deductions.
Do you know what purchases can be claimed on your taxes and those that cannot? The guidelines can change from year to year, so it’s important to understand the rules.
6) File the correct forms.
The forms can be confusing because they are numbered and often have only a letter difference (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ). Filing an incorrect form can delay the processing of your claim, or possibly cause you to miss out on potential tax breaks.
7) File even if you can’t afford to pay.
If you know that you’ll owe on your return and can’t afford to pay, you still want to file a tax return. Missing the deadline will result in additional penalties and interest charges.
For more information, visit the IRS at www.irs.gov or talk to your tax professional. We also highly recommend TurboTax for your tax filing needs. They offer a full line of online services to our members at a discounted price.