1040 tax form with pen and calculator on top

10 Easy Ways to Prepare for Your Tax Site Visit

By Maureen T. Haggblom, Director of Income Impact, United Way of Anchorage

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And - It IS that time of year again. Just to help you get started (which is the hardest thing to do when it comes to taxes!), here are some tips from the far, frozen northern region of the country.

1. Find last year’s tax return and bring it along. It’s not required, but it is really helpful. And looking over last year might remind you of other records you need.

2. Don’t forget to bring Social Security cards (or ITIN letters) for everyone to be listed on the tax return.  Tax sites need to see the actual card (or a picture of it), or a statement from Social Security with the name and social security number (SSN). You could photocopy all your family’s cards on one piece of paper, and keep it in the tax return envelope for next year.

3. Bring your picture ID. The tax site will need to verify that you are really you—and your spouse, too, if filing a joint return.

4. If you received an ID Theft PIN from IRS, be sure to bring that notice. Your return can’t be submitted without it.

5. Make sure you have all your records. Did you receive a W-2 from each place you worked? Do you have your unemployment statement? It’s easier to wait to get all your documents together than to make a second trip to file an amended return. And amended returns take a long time to process.

6. If you paid for daycare, note your provider’s name, address and tax ID number/SSN as well as the total spent. You’ll need it to claim the Child & Dependent Care Credit.

7. If you have a college student in the family, be sure you bring their Form 1098-T and know their total tuition, fees and scholarships. Most students can print a summary of charges from their on-line account. You should also know how much was spent for required books and equipment.

8. If you bought health insurance through Healthcare.gov or a state marketplace, be sure to bring your Form 1095-A(s).

9. Bring your checkbook or another way to verify your bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit. You don’t want to deposit it in the wrong account! Consider splitting your refund to dedicate some to savings, then visit www.saveyourrefund.com and enter to win a prize for saving!

10. If you’ll be preparing your own return online, be sure you know your last year’s AGI (from line 37 of your Form 1040; line 21 on Form 1040-A, or line 4 on the Form 1040-EZ.) If you used the same website and username last year, the program will be able to carry the AGI forward.

BONUS: Save money by getting your taxes prepared for FREE by local IRS-certified volunteers at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site near you! Find a free tax site close to use today

Gathering up that information wasn’t so bad, so now let’s go make this happen! Good luck, and remember that life is always more manageable with a little planning—much better than every day being a surprise party.
Let America Saves help you make the most of the money you save this tax season. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. Take the first step today and take the America Saves pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. And it doesn't stop there. America Saves will keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.

Prepping for your tax site visit? 10 tips to help you get ready >> http://bit.ly/2BsA9HS v/ @AmericaSave
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