It's Never Too Early to Get Ahead

12/1/2018 | Written by: Selena Quintanilla, CRTP
Taking these few steps today will save you time and hassle come time to file your 2018 tax returns in 2019.  
Validate your information and communicate any changes. 
Most critical forms are sent in the mail and should be arriving in early January. Changes to your name, email address, mailing address, and other contact information should be shared with your employers, banks, and any other related parties promptly. Review any forms you receive thoroughly to ensure accuracy.  If you find any mistakes, contact the issuer right away for a corrected form. 
Check your tax withholding. 
With only a few pay dates left this year, and changes under the TCJA going into effect, performing a paycheck checkup is essential. Refunds may differ from prior years, and some taxpayers may even be on the receiving end of a tax bill. To avoid undesirable surprises, you should evaluate your withholding as soon as possible to confirm adequacy or to make necessary adjustments.   
Gather supporting documents. 
To avoid filing an incomplete or inaccurate tax return, you should try to keep any documents that confirm data entered on the return, especially where deductions or credits are concerned.  
Some of these documents include your 2017 tax return, W-2 forms from all employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, Forms 1095-A from the Marketplace for those claiming the premium tax credit, etc. 
Remember, the IRS recommends that you keep a copy of any filed tax return and supporting documents for a minimum of three years.  
Consider e-filing. 
Using tax preparation software simplifies the filing process and reduces the chance of errors. Such programs complete calculations for you and generate supporting forms based on your entries or answers to certain questions. With that said, even e-filing programs are not foolproof. If you are e-filing, be sure to take your time when answering questions and to check data. Additionally, a thorough review should be completed before the return is submitted.