1. Set up a file folder to retain tax-related documents that you accumulate during the year. 2. Keep your income tax return in a safe location so it may be easily retrieved if you need it during the year.
3. Keep track of business, charitable, and medical mileage by using a logbook.
4. If you buy, sell, or refinance any real estate during the year, keep a copy of the closing statement, (HUD 1 statement, settlement statement) in your tax file.
5. If you make non-cash (thrift shop) charitable contributions, keep a record of the date, name of the charity, specific items, amount of contribution and how the value was determined. Please refer to IRS Publication 561 for details on how to determine the value of non-cash items donated to charity.
6. If you change jobs during the year, make sure you keep a copy of your final paystub so that you can compare it to your W-2 from that employer.
7. If an employer insists on paying you with a 1099 instead of a W-2, remember that you are responsible for paying all of the taxes, including the employer’s portion of the FICA and Medicare taxes.
8. If you must make estimated tax payments, consider using the IRS electronic payment system. For more information go to www.eftps.gov. It’s more secure than paying by check, and you get immediate proof of payment.
9. If you trade or speculate in stocks or other securities, only deal with brokerage firms that are able to report all of your trading activity. Brokers are only required to report the proceeds of security sales, not the gains and losses. Deal with brokers that can report your gains and losses to you. This will save time at the end of the tax year when it is time to prepare your income tax returns. The broker or agency should provide you with a 1099-B or composite of some kind. This will be a compilation of securities transaction data and any dividends or interest that has been accrued through them.
10. Keep the receipts for all large purchases, the sales tax that you paid may be deducted on your taxes. This includes large home remodel costs, energy-saving improvements, cars, boats, and any other major purchases. The sales tax is deductible, in addition to the IRS table amounts, if you itemize your deductions. The energy-related improvements may be eligible for tax credits even if you don’t itemize deductions.