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Jenny B.

Jenny's Blog

Learn about important financial topics from SEFCU's Manager of Member Education.

Three Helpful Tips to Get You Organized for Next Tax Season

Posted by Jenny at 5/5/2014 8:32:18 AM

Now that the 2013 tax season is behind us we need to make sure we have a system in place for managing paperwork and receipts for the next season. If you haven’t created an organization system already you should think back to when you prepared your 2013 tax returns to determine what made them a breeze and what was lacking. If organization or documentation were issues then take the following steps to better prepare for next year. Being prepared is key to being able to file quickly and accurately.

Tip #1 — Keep tax documents in a safe place

Whether it’s a filing cabinet, safe, or box in the basement you need to find a place where your tax documents are safe and easy to locate next January. Not only will this information be helpful for you or the tax preparer when filing next year, but you may also be selected for an audit and need to supply this information to the tax department in a timely manner. If you were missing documentation to support deductions in 2013 it is a good idea to try to obtain that information for safekeeping in the event you are required to produce proof of expenses.

Tip #2 — Create separate folders for 2014 documents

Gather all documentation that you will need for next tax season and separate it into folders — like Social Security Numbers for dependants or your spouse, income (W-2), wage statements (1099-INT and 1099-DIV), mortgage interest and annual real estate taxes paid (1098), student loan interest paid (1098), NYS 529 plan contributions, receipts for gifts under $250 or letters acknowledging charitable contributions over $250, records of mileage for volunteer time, and any other information needed to accurately prepare your returns.

Tip #3 — Changes to your withholdings

If you owed taxes then you will want to consider making a change to your withholdings and/or ask to have additional money withheld to offset any possible future tax liability. Conversely, you may have received a generous refund because you paid too much throughout the year. If that’s the case you can make adjustments to help increase your take home pay and still receive a refund at year’s end. To do this, you can contact your employer to make the appropriate changes to your W-4 (federal) or IT- 2104 (NYS) forms at any time and as many times as you would like throughout the year.

If you have any questions about tax documentation provided by SEFCU, contact the Member Solutions Center at 518-452-8183 or 800-727-3328.