It's tax season. Time to go through all of your financials, business records and other documents to make sure you fulfill your yearly tax obligations. There is no time like the present to get some handy tax preparation tips.
Since preparing for filing is often a headache for many, we reached out to Mike Langford, our genConnect financial expert and founder and president of Course Pilot Financial, to get his tips on how to make tax season a little easier this year. Here are some of his recommendations:
- Use TurboTax's online service. It saves you time by automatically importing your information from your previous year's return and it will often be able to download your W2s, 1099s and many other statements. It also has a great guide for discovering deductions you might otherwise overlook.
- Keep a tax folder or envelope. Start 2011′s today if you do not already have one. What goes in your folder? Receipts for business (if you own one), receipts for medical expenses, daycare expense records, and especially any records of paying taxes, such as excise tax or property tax.
- Keep, print out, or download your bank statements with records of all payments you make throughout the year. There's nothing more frustrating than digging for evidence that you paid for something at 11 PM on April 14th.
- Don't be afraid to hire a CPA if you are feeling overwhelmed. But, try not to wait until April to go looking for one.
- As far as investments go, talk to your advisor about when to book gains and when to take losses. Capital gains are taxable. Losses can reduce your taxes owed.
- Tax time is a great time to take note of where you can improve your financial life. For example, did you contribute enough to your retirement plan? Doing so can often reduce your current taxable income. Why not increase it now so next year you will pay less in taxes?
For more from Mike Langford and our other financial experts:
- Tax Calculators, Child Tax Credit and Tax Cuts, Oh My!
- Government Shutdown Imminent if Lawmakers Don't Reach Budget Deal
- Christiana Wyly: The Creative Potential of Money
- Conscious Capitalism: Are You Investing in a Better World?
- Why You Need an Investment Wall
About the Author:
Mike Langford is the founder and President of Course Pilot Financial, an independent investment advisory firm. Mike has a wealth of experience in the investment industry. Prior to launching Course Pilot he held a variety of roles as a member of the finance teams at Fidelity Investments, State Street Corporation, Pioneer Investments, and Boston Financial Data Services.
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