BOSTON (CBS) – We are midway into the year and trust me it is a good time to think about taxes.

If you start your tax planning now, you may avoid a tax surprise when you file next year. And if you did not set up a system to keep track of tax information when you filed earlier this year now is a good time to do that.

Here are some IRS tips to give you a leg up on next year’s taxes:

Take action when life changes occur. Some life events can change the amount of tax you pay. Some examples that can do that include a change in marital status or the birth of a child. When they happen, you may need to change the amount of tax withheld from your pay.

To do that, file a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool to help you fill out the form.

Report changes in circumstances to the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you enrolled in insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should report changes in circumstances to the Marketplace when they happen. Report events such as changes in your income or family size.

Keep your records safe. Put your 2014 tax return and supporting records in a safe place. If you ever need your tax return or records, it will be easy for you to get them. For example, you may need a copy of your tax return if you apply for a home loan or college financial aid.

Get organized. This will make tax time so much easier. That way you won’t have to search for misplaced records when you file next year.

Shop for a tax preparer. If you want to hire a tax preparer to help you with tax planning, start your search now when they are not crazy busy.

Think about itemizing. If you normally claim a standard deduction on your tax return, you may be able to lower your taxes if you itemize deductions instead.

Planning now can pay off with savings at tax time next year.

IRS Resources:

  • Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax
  • Publication 5152, Report changes to the Marketplace as they happen
  • Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, see Chapter 1, under “What Records Should I Keep?”
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