Though many of you are filling out your bracket for March Madness, this time of year is a good time to get your financial information in order to complete the filing of your taxes next month. Though you have a couple extra days this year, don’t wait until the last minute.
Over the last several weeks you should have been receiving documents from your employer, banks, stockbrokers and any other agencies that were in your financial life in 2015. By law, these would be sent out by the end of January, so you should have all of these documents at this time.
Something that is relatively new and essential to preparing your taxes is Healthcare statements. You will have an additional form (Form 1095) that discloses that you have health care coverage for you and your family, as well as the amount you paid for it. Having health insurance is now mandatory by our Government (thank you Obamacare), so you MUST provide this information on your forms.
Most common are the income and deduction statements. This includes W-2 provided by your employers showing the amount you were paid AND the amount that was withheld for paying taxes. If you own a home you may be able to deduct the mortgage interest: that would be form 1098. Student loan interest is reported on 1098-E. Many different types of 1099s are provided depending if you earned any interest on your bank accounts, received dividends from investments, sold stocks or bonds, received a refund in taxes, etc.
When this is gathered, sit down and prepare your taxes. YES, you can do it yourself most of the time, but if you do hire someone to prepare your taxes to watch out for these red flags.
Below are two links that assist you in preparing a checklist for all of your documents: