It’s Tax Season! What’s Your First Step?

BOSTON (CBS) – The envelopes have begun to arrive.

Open them! If you don’t, you won’t know if you are missing any pertinent information. Look for 1099s from your mutual fund companies, banks, clients, and pension distributions. And 1098s from your mortgage company.

If any of them are incorrect get it straightened out. The Payer has until the end of February to send their copies of that 1099 to the IRS.

Check to be sure your W-2s have arrived and they are correct. If not, call your employer and ask that another be sent out. Be sure they have your correct address.

If you use software such as Quicken, gathering your tax information will be easy. You can print out your tax reports such as the amount you paid in medical expenses, real estate taxes, or contributions. This makes filing the long 1040 much easier and probably more accurate.

About one third of us do our own taxes and some actually say they enjoy doing them. Head to the post office or your local library to get copies of the forms you need and the instruction books.

You can download forms from the IRS, but the instruction booklet for the standard 1040 is over 100 pages. Then find all of the different forms and schedules that go with the 1040. To see all of the publications offered by the IRS check out their website.

If you are going to go it alone request IRS publication 17. It’s over 300 pages. Request the IRS send you a copy (800.829.3676). It’s a good read for it has everything you need to know about changes in the tax laws for 2013 that will affect your tax return. It’s easy but tedious reading.

You are going to need to organize this stuff whether you do the taxes yourself or hire someone else to do them for you. Even if you hire someone you should understand your taxes and review the information carefully before you sign that return.

One more thing:  The IRS still has tax refunds from last year. They are looking to return tax refunds that were not delivered earlier this year because of mailing address errors. Don’t let that happen. Be sure your address is correct.

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

 

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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