Tax preparation can be a daunting task that many of us including myself put off until the very last minute. Part of the problem is gathering all the information you need to get the process underway. You may have a mountain of papers stacked on a table or desk or stuffed in a drawer somewhere in the house. If that sounds like your filing system, why not start now for next year and get your files organized. Keeping them electronically is a great way to cut down on the clutter. Here are the items you need to have handy to getting the filing process underway.
- W-2 Forms from all employers you (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) worked for during the past tax year.
- 1099 Forms if you (or your spouse) completed contract work and earned more than $600.
- Investment income information (including: interest income, dividend income, proceeds from the sale of bonds or stocks, and income from foreign investments).
- Income from local and state tax refunds from the prior year.
- Business income (accounting records for any business that you own)
- Unemployment income
- Rental property income
- Social Security benefits
- Miscellaneous income (including: jury duty, lottery and gambling winnings, Form 1099-MISC for prizes and awards, and Form 1099-MSA for distributions from medical savings accounts
For those of you who love to “do-it-yourself”, the IRS has a link to resources that allow you to file your taxes for free. Just click on this link https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free and follow the directions to get you started.
For those of you who need some hand holding, there are some free resources in Tampa Bay that can help get you through the process. United Way Suncoast has a guide to a number of locations in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. All of the volunteers are IRS certified. For information on whether you qualify for free help based on income, what to bring with you, hours, and locations go to http://unitedwaysuncoast.org/what-we-do/income/free-tax-help/
For some great information on a variety of money topics go to https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topics/families/money.html