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Filing your taxes doesn’t have to be painful. Getting organized beforehand can make the process faster and less frustrating.  Plus, it can help you take advantage of every legal credit and deduction to which you’re entitled. Here’s how to get ready for the tax season.

Know when to expect your W-2

Most people get their W-2 by the end of January.  When it finally arrives, you’ll feel like Charlie when he found the last golden ticket.  With your W-2 in hand you can file your return and get the refund you’ve been waiting for and deserve.  If you haven’t received your W-2 by the second week in February, call your employer and ask for a copy.  As a last resort, you can contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 for assistance. 

Use a tax prep checklist to gather everything you need

If this is your first time doing your own taxes, you may be clueless about what you need to file your return.  Using a tax prep checklist will ensure you have the proper information readily available.  ezTaxReturn has one that covers all the bases and you can check it out here.  For a basic return, you usually just need your SSNs, birthdates, W-2s and account numbers if you want to direct deposit your refund. Choose direct deposit and e-file your return to get your tax refund as quickly as possible.

Download a copy of last year’s tax return

When using tax software, you’ll be asked to enter a self-select PIN and your prior year Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to digitally sign your return.  The self-select PIN can be any five numbers you want except all zeros.  Your AGI can be found on line 7 of your 2018 form 1040.  If you filed with ezTaxReturn, click here to download a copy of your return.  Please note, taxpayers who filed late in the year or didn’t file at all, must use zero as their prior year AGI.

Store your receipts in one location

Missing receipts can lead to lost savings.  Find an empty shoe box or folder and store all your tax documents in one place.  Hold on to any receipts that can potentially lower your tax bill.  For instance, medical/dental expenses, childcare, charitable donations and home office expenses.  Once you’ve tracked them all down, organize them by category to make your life easier.

Remember the filing deadline

By far, the most important tax date you need to remember is April 15th.  This is when your federal and state tax returns are due.  If you miss the filing deadline and owe money, you’ll begin accumulating penalties and interest. 

Make time to do your taxes

Watch your email or visit ezTaxReturn.com frequently for the early opening date.  Then file early to get your refund as quickly as possible. It only takes 30 minutes to complete your federal and state returns using ezTaxReturn.  It’s fast and easy to do your taxes and won’t take much time from your busy schedule.