Tips for properly preparing and filing your taxes

Taxes: Preparation & Filing

A 10-Point Tax Return Checklist


You finally finished your taxes. But before you drop your return in the mailbox or hit the "send" button, do a last-minute review to ensure it's really ready to go. Here's a 10-point last-minute checklist to make sure your paperwork is error-free.

Preparing Your Income Taxes

Lee Doppelt

April 15, the deadline for filing federal income taxes, seems to creep up on you quickly each year. It's one of the unpleasant but necessary tasks of everyone's lives and most people don't like to deal with taxes. By being proactive about filing income taxes, you can make the experience manageable. When it comes to having your taxes prepared, as with other purchases of services, you often get what you pay for. Assess your situation now. Organize and gather all your tax-related documents now. Make a solid plan now as to who will prepare your taxes.

7 Ways to Get Organized for the Tax Year


Even if your tax situation isn't complicated, there's still documentation the Internal Revenue Service demands. But filing taxes doesn't have to be an ordeal. And it can be less frustrating and less time-consuming if you have all the material at your fingertips.

What to Do if You Don't Get Your W-2


You're still waiting for your W-2. You know you're getting a refund and you want to file your return, but it's something you can't do until you receive your annual wage statement. The IRS requires employers to get workers their earnings information by the end of each January, so allow a few days after the 31st for it to show up. But if your Form W-2 never arrives, you can create your own for tax-filing purposes.

You Can File Your Return without 1099 Forms


If you received interest or dividend income, sold a stock or worked as an independent contractor, you'll get some version of the Internal Revenue Service Form 1099 to help you complete your tax return. Here is how to file if you do not receive a 1099.

Who Has to File Taxes?


Believe it or not, some people make it through tax-filing season without any hassle. That's because the Internal Revenue Service doesn't require them to file taxes. Unfortunately, most of us aren't that lucky. So just who has to file a tax return?

Tax Statements You Need to File


Statements are on the way from employers, banks, stockbrokers and other institutions and agencies that were involved in taxpayers' financial lives last year. You might receive these statements in the mail or electronically. Here is how to figure out which statements you will need to file.

Getting the Most from Tax Software


Don't want to spend a lot of time with your 1040? Then tax-preparation software may be the answer. These packages promise to save you time and money by putting tax law and the forms you need at your fingertips. And some tax-prep devotees contend they can even save your sanity during tax season.

Picking the Proper 1040 Tax Return Form


Most people hate filling out tax forms almost as much as they hate forking over dough to Uncle Sam. That's why you should use the simplest tax return form you can, especially if you're still filling out your forms by hand. But choose carefully. While all the personal income tax forms are designed to get the appropriate amount of your money to the IRS, the differences in these returns could cost you if you're not paying attention.

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Filing Status Can Make a Difference in Your Tax Bill


What's your tax filing status? It may sound like a simple question, but the correct answer could make a difference in your tax bill. There are 5 official choices, and the one you pick also determines whether you can take certain tax deductions or exemptions that could lower your final tax bill. In some cases, your status can even be the deciding factor in whether you have to file at all.

Avoid These 10 Common Tax-Filing Mistakes


To get exactly what you should from the Internal Revenue Service, as quickly as possible, look out for these tax-filing pitfalls. A few are new, thanks to recent law changes. Others are perennial problems taxpayers face each filing season. With a little care, you can avoid them all.

Overcoming 6 Tax Terrors when Preparing Your Taxes


Tax fear doesn't have to paralyze you. Here are six common tax terrors. Some are real. Some aren't nearly as terrifying as you might think. Conquer your tax terrors, get your returns done in a timely manner and possibly save a few bucks once you've overcome your tax-filing fears.

Watch Out for These 5 Terrible Tax Surprises


The tax law is complex and difficult for even experts to negotiate. Just when you think you've followed all the rules and researched all the angles, a tax regulation blindsides you. Here are five terrible tax surprises that you might encounter during tax season and how to deal with the consequences.

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