What you need to know before tax day

by Amanda Partin, H&R Block, Stockbridge Manager

Now that the holidays are over, let the fun begin. Tax season is upon us. The first rule of order is to stay calm. Take a deep breath and start gathering any information you may need to do your own taxes or provide to your tax preparer. Yes, the government has currently reformed the tax code, but we most likely will not see changes until the 2018 tax year.

What materials to assemble? Keep it simple. Start with retrieving last year’s taxes. They will serve as a handy reference, and you’ll need a photo ID.

Gather all W-2’s and income sources from self-employment, interest, jury duty, gambling/lottery winnings, alimony, unemployment compensation, Social Security. You’ll need personal information for dependents, including their SSNs, birthdates, school records, and daycare records.

Think you may wish to itemize? If so, you’ll need paperwork showing your expenditures. These include medical expenses for prescriptions, supplies, eye exams, lab x-rays, dentist and doctor visits. Find proof of payment for all taxes, including federal and state estimates, local, and real estate. You will be able to deduct contributions to charitable organizations, including churches, United Way, veterans, hospitals, schools, and the Red Cross. And don’t forget employee expenses including professional dues, union dues, tools/equipment.

If planning for direct deposit, have bank information handy. Keep in mind your tax situation may vary from your neighbors’, so what you use and bring with you may also vary. If you have questions on what else you may need, call up your favorite tax professional. He or she will be happy to assist.

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