5 Ways to Prepare For the Fast-Approaching 2017 Tax Season

Banks Editorial Team · December 22, 2017

2017 may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you’re done with your 2017 taxes yet.

Come March of 2018, tax organization, preparation, and submission will be in full swing, gathering all of your documents, records, and paystubs to determine your tax bracket and taxes owed at the national, state, and municipal levels. Preparing tax returns, gathering the necessary documentation, and double-checking that everything was filled out honestly and accurately can be overwhelming for even the most organized of people.

One of the best ways to reduce the stress associated with tax season is to prepare months in advance. If you’re already thinking about what you’ll owe when the year closes, here are 5 ways to prepare for the fast-approaching 2017 tax season:

1. To Itemize or Not To Itemize:

That is the question! As an individual, you have two big options when it comes to filing your tax return: itemized deductions or a standard deduction. How you make that decision now will help you figure out what you need to save and keep track of starting today. Although not every dollar you spend will be deductible, the expenses you are seeking to itemize must exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI). It’s also important to remember that everyone is available for the standard deduction, including you.

2. Business Expense Tracking:

If you own your own business or startup, it’s important to track every single business expense if you are trying to claim certain items on your tax return. You’ll need to justify these expenses to the IRS, which means there needs to be a paper trail. To do this, always save or track the items you want to deduct, making a special journal or folder that contains the markings and receipts from the purchase. Electronically, there are apps that enable you to track these kinds of expenses.

3. Don’t Forget Donations:

It can be easy to forget about the donations made throughout the year. If you donate to different charitable organizations and groups, or even pay dues for professional organizations, you are eligible to take that contribution as a tax deduction. You can request emails from organizations at the end of the year with a balance for how much you donated. If there’s no email, it’s worth calling just to be sure.

4. Finance Filing:

We all know the struggle of an overloaded and overwhelming email inbox. Taking some time, however, to make even a simple emailing organization system can save you a lot of stress at tax time. Anytime you receive a bank e-statement, credit card e-statement, retirement account information, or any other kind of expense confirmations, you should file it away into e-mail folders that are easy to access.

5. Tax Dates:

Yes, April is the end-all, be-all tax month of our calendar year, but don’t forget about quarterly filing if you find yourself seriously overloaded and stressed out right now.

You still have 4-months until the hammer drops on 2017 taxes, which means now is a perfect time to start your organization system.

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