NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Time to Do the Taxes

Time to Do the Taxes

 

            If you haven’t started preparing your taxes yet, remember that it’s always a good idea to start sooner than later. Following are a few key points you’ll want to remember when you are preparing your tax filing.  –

            1. Figure out which forms you’ll need -Since everyone’s financial situation is different, there are many different tax forms that suit these different situations. If you’re unsure which tax form to use, visit the IRS’s website or consult a professional.

            2. Gather past year’s tax returns - Since we often have to reference the previous year’s return when preparing the current one, it’s a good idea to make sure you store them all in the same place, whether it’s a desk drawer, filing cabinet, or even a shoebox under your bed.

            3.  Itemize Tax Deductions - You already know about the standard tax deductions, but don’t forget to itemize all possible deductions you can legitimately claim to see how it affects your return. Some miscellaneous expenses like work-related vehicle mileage costs or job-hunting expenses can become deductions if the combined amount adds up to more than 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.

            4. Provide Dependents’ Social Security Numbers -Whether you have children or file as ‘head of household’ with dependents, you’re going to need their Social Security numbers to claim any credit. If you’re divorced and claiming a child, make sure that your ex-spouse isn’t also claiming the same dependent or your return could be delayed. Remember, each child under 17 provides a child tax credit of $1,000 per child.

            5.  Organize Your Records and Documents - You could miss out on some significant deductions if you’re scrambling to find receipts and proof of expenses while filing your taxes.

It’s a simple strategy, but incredibly effective. Make sure to get all of your paperwork in order before filing.

            6.  Contribute to Your Retirement Accounts - You have until April 18 of this year to fund your traditional or Roth IRA account. These deductible contributions can help lower your tax bill.

            7. Check your deductions -If you’ve had any major life events this year (bought a house, gotten married, had a child, etc.) you may be entitled to some sizable deductions. It’s a good idea to research all possible deductions to avoid overpaying your taxes.

            8. Track all charitable donations - Charitable donations are tax-deductible, so if you have any monthly or one-off donations, make sure to keep track so that you can deduct these expenses from your taxes.

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