As the year wraps up, it’s wise to start thinking about getting your necessary tax documents in order to expedite your refund. You can now file starting January 20th instead of January 31st. Prep those W2s stat! How else are you going to plan that 2016 summer vacation? Below are 7 ways to make sure you get the cash faster than you can say “Cancun in July!”
There can be quite a few things to collect, depending on your work circumstances, family, and lifestyle. At the very least, you’ll need your W2s and records of any other income received. The law requires employers to provide W2s by January 31st, but request it early in the month and keep an eye out.
This seems like a no brainer, but it happens all too often. The most common mistakes include writing your SSN incorrectly, miscalculating taxable income, and entering data on the wrong lines. Fill out your forms carefully, and consider getting a second pair of trusted eyes to read them over. At the very least, fill everything out, and return to it the next day with a fresh perspective. Match all names, numbers, and dates to trusted sources (ahem, like you’re SSN card).
There are many deductibles you might not be aware of. Freelancer? See if you qualify for the home office deductible. Perhaps you donated to charity – there’s another deduction. Think long and hard about your work, financial, family, and even leisure situations, where you money went and how it came in. Here are some deductions oft-overlooked.
If you’re filing on paper (although you shouldn’t, as stated below), make sure you put down that John Hancock! Obvious to most, but can easily be missed after you’ve sweated a brow filling out all of those forms and trying to remember all the alimony you paid last year.
Don’t delay – get to typing as soon as the form open up at the end of January! Procrastinating never got anyone anywhere, especially not to a vacation destination. So when you get down to it, make it electronic. This is quickest and safest way, plus the most accurate – filling out that paper before online filing is available will give you no advantage. There are plenty of online (perhaps free from the IRS) methods and softwares to do so yourself, but if you have complicated assets or work circumstances, you might want to turn it over to a professional. Accuracy over speed, people!
Gone are the days of waiting by the mailbox for your check – save the anxiety and the trees by requesting your green via direct deposit. Again, double check your bank account information (checking and routing numbers often get confused!) and you’ll see those shiny numbers in your account in no time.
If all is accurate, you can have your refund in your bank account in a week or two. Use the “Where Is My Refund”? Tool to keep an eye – in the meantime, book that trip and plan your vacation itinerary!
Get a sturdy filing system in place, whether that be a manila folder or full-fledged Excel spreadsheet, to store all of your paperwork and information in a safe place. This way, you can annotate deductions easily forgotten (like accounting for student loan interest), and get your tax refund with less sweat and more cash!