Mastering Tax Season: Top 5 Tips for a Smooth Filing Process

Tax season is upon us, and while it may not be everyone’s favorite time of the year, being well-prepared can make the process much smoother. To help you navigate the complexities of tax filing, here are our top 5 tax season tips:

1. Download Your Tax Documents Online

In the digital age, many financial institutions issue tax documents exclusively online, skipping the traditional postal route. As you gear up for tax season, ensure that you’ve received a tax form from every expected institution. Log in to your online accounts and download the necessary documents. Stay proactive and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

2. Gather Documents Early 

Most tax documents are available by mid-February, so start gathering them early. This proactive approach gives you ample time to review the information, identify any discrepancies, and seek clarification from the issuing institution if necessary. Being ahead of the game can significantly reduce stress as the filing deadline approaches.

3. Embrace E-File and Direct Deposit

E-filing and direct deposit have become the preferred methods for both filing returns and receiving or paying tax refunds. The IRS can be sluggish when it comes to processing paper mail, leading to delays in refunds or acknowledgments. Save time and expedite the process by opting for electronic filing and direct deposit for a more efficient and secure experience.

4. Keep Copies for Seven Years 

Once your tax return is filed, keep copies of your tax returns and all supporting documents for a minimum of seven years. This ensures that you have a comprehensive record of your financial history in case of audits, inquiries, or future financial planning. 

5. Review Previous Returns

Look out for specific items such as Capital Loss Carryforwards and Form 8606 (IRA Basis). If you’ve changed tax preparers or tax software in recent years, there’s a chance that crucial information may have been overlooked. Rectify any discrepancies and ensure that your current return reflects the most accurate and up-to-date financial information

By incorporating these top 5 tax season tips into your filing routine, you’ll not only streamline the process, but also gain confidence in the accuracy of your returns. So, gear up, gather those documents, and tackle tax season with ease! 

Emily Balmages, CFP®

Director of Financial Planning, Warren Street Wealth Advisors

Investment Advisor Representative, Warren Street Wealth Advisors, LLC., a Registered Investment Advisor

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