It’s almost time to begin gathering your tax information. You should receive most of your 2013 tax documents by early to mid-February 2014.
Whether you expect to prepare your own return or use the services of a professional, it pays to be organized.
Probably the most important document you need to locate is a copy of last year’s tax return. The tax situation of most individuals does not change dramatically from year to year. So the information shown on last year’s return is a good guide to what you need to look for this year.
On the other hand, if you experienced a life event during 2013, your tax situation could be in for a big adjustment. Life events include marriage, divorce, birth of a child, retirement, a business startup or a change in employment.
Everyone’s situation is different, but most people receive some common tax documents in the mail:
You may receive other income tax-related forms as well:
All of these forms will be needed to see whether you qualify to itemize your deductions. If you are self-employed, you will also need to gather receipts for all deductible business expenses. Check out IRS Publication 535 for more information about business expenses.
Looking ahead to next year at this time, while you’re digging up all these records, sort everything and create files to hold:
Then keep items sorted as they come in during 2014. That way, next year’s income tax return should be easier to prepare.