In just a few months, the IRS tax filing deadline for 2020 (April 15th) will be sneaking up on us. For many that means last minute filing or searching for that final piece of tax form that was misplaced. Fortunately, it is January and we have time to prepare. Here are some things you can do now to make filing easier. Plus, don't forget to check out exclusive savings for credit union members on tax-filing programs such as TurboTax, here!
Determine if you need to file taxes
Not everyone is required to file taxes. There are different factors, such as income earned, that impact your filing status. If you are unsure if you need to file, use the IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant.
Familiarize Yourself with Filing Taxes
Even if you are using a tax filing software, qualified tax preparer, or filing with free-file at IRS.gov, it’s always a good idea to understand what it means to file your taxes, what forms you will need, what happens if you owe money or are due a refund, and what happens after you file.
The IRS provides a detailed Tax Topics list to address common questions, such as common errors when filing, amending returns, and what kind of tax assistance is available for individuals with disabilities, those who are self-employed, and small business owners.
If you prefer to get your information via videos, the IRS also regularly update their YouTube channel!
Collect your documents
Federal law requires that employers provide your 2020 W-2 form by January 31st. That may mean that you are mailed the documents, or that they are available online. If you had multiple employers you will need to collect your W-2s from each employer individually. Some IRS tax filing forms may not be sent until mid-February, and your financial institutions should notify you of your tax document timeline. If you itemize your taxes, you can start collecting your documentation now, as your 2020 receipts should be readily available to you.
Schedule a time to file your taxes
The IRS has announced that 2020 Tax filing will begin in mid-January, though no official date has been given as of early January.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t put a time on your calendar to file your taxes. For individuals that are anticipating a tax refund, it may benefit you to file your taxes earlier. Fraudsters often target taxpayers expecting a refund and may file on your behalf to access that refund. Filing earlier is one way to help protect yourself. For more tips to help prevent IRS has provided a number of tips on how to avoid identity theft, and you can also check out our recent blog post on protecting yourself from internet scams.
Utilize Your Resources
To make tax filing easier, take advantage of the resources available to you. Many employers, credit card companies, and financial intuitions offer discounts or services to tax preparing software. Typically, your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or Human Resource offices are able to provide details regarding tax preparing resources that may be available to you. If you are a student, your Financial Aid Office or Student Affairs Office may provide resources to help you with tax filing.
HUECU members are eligible for discounts to TurboTax, and other merchants, via https://rewards.lovemycreditunion.org/.
The IRS also provides free tax filing assistance through their VITA program. Many cities and towns partner with VITA to offer free tax filing service to those in their communities.
Now that you've gotten a head start on filing your taxes, set some other financial goals for 2021!