Preparing your Income Tax Return will be a lot easier if you're well organized with all your personal and financial records. It will help you make better use of your money, and make tax planning for the coming year all the easier. In general, you will need any tax documents you received that state income and deductions, such as mortgage interest or student loan interest. You’ll also need to find receipts for deductible expenses such as medical bills and receipts for any charitable donations you made during the year. If you are self-employed, you’ll also need to gather receipts for all deductible business expenses. Check out IRS Publication 535 for a complete list of business expenses. Finally, if you have a home office, you’ll need to find receipts for the utilities and proof of mortgage or rent payments, among others. You can find a list of allowed home office deductions in IRS Publication 587. Looking ahead to next year at this time, while you’re digging up all these records, sort everything and create files to hold your bills; bank, credit card, and retirement account statements; and receipts for deductible items and charitable donations. Then, keep things sorted as they come in during the year. That way, next year’s income tax return will be a breeze to prepare.
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