Taxes are due April 18th this year - DON'T FORGET!
Once your taxes are done, take these final steps for a successful season:
Check your refund status, make a payment, find free tax preparation assistance, sign up for helpful tax tips, and follow the IRS on Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube - all in the latest version of IRS2Go. Available via Google Play and iTunes.
ItsDeductible Charity Donation Tracker
ItsDeductible is an easy way to keep track of your donations and get back the maximum deductions you deserve for your charitable acts. Now owned by Turbo Tax.
Available via iTunes.
Whether you are traveling for business, medical, or charitable purposes, it can be hard to remember to write down your mileage. MileIQ lets you track your mileage quickly and easily with automatic tracking and provides a record of past trips.Available via Google Play and iTunes.
QuickBooks Self-Employed: Track Mileage, Invoices
QuickBooks Self-Employed finds tax deductions and keeps your finances organized by categorizing your business expenses, automatically tracking mileage, and attaching receipts to business expenses. Available via Google Play and iTunes
GoDaddy Bookkeeping (formerly Outright)
GoDaddy Bookkeeping syncs your bank account, PayPal, Amazon account, etc and the transactions are automatically pulled in to your account. So, you don’t have complex adding or importing transactions. Available via Google Play and iTunes.
Freshbooks Cloud Accounting App
Simply take a picture of your receipts, create client invoices, and follow up on payments, right from the app. Plus, you can print month-end reports and review financial income, expenses and more. You can even give your accountant a separate login (with restricted access) so they can get all the info they need. Available via Google Play and iTunes.
Blog post originally posted on Avery's website HERE. Links below have been changed to order your supplies direct from Twist.
It’s the start of a new year. A sense of optimism and renewal is in the air. But those pleasant feelings can fade away once those pesky reminders that tax season isn’t far away start to invade your mailbox – such as W-2, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, and 1099-MISC forms.
While you can’t avoid tax season, you can make it less stressful through better organization. So, let’s look at some quick ways to do that.
1) Be kind to your eyes with clearly identifiable folders
It’s frustrating enough dealing with taxes. Don’t compound matters with folders that feature indistinguishable labels and indecipherable handwriting.
With bright, distinctive colors, Avery Removable File Folder Labels help your folders stand out, and make it easier to put your tax records and receipts into the correct folders. Clearly marked labels can speed the file-sorting process and promote accuracy.
Plus, it’s a snap to create easy-to-read labels with customized categories exactly the way you want them. Just use the free label templates available on Avery Design & Print Online. Then print, peel and stick.
Want to feel really organized? Color code the folders to keep related tax records together. For example, use green for banking and financial records and red for medical receipts.
2) Keep your mind on track with reusable calendars
On the way to April 15th, you’ll have some important dates or goals to keep in mind. These could include:
- Deadlines to receive forms from employers and financial institutions
- Personal deadlines for organizing or preparing tax paperwork
- Meetings with your tax preparer
- Filing for an extension
- Signing and mailing your return
Dry Erase Calendars are perfect for this! Choose your favorite and then use Avery Dry Erase Markers to write down your tax-related dates. Afterward, simply erase your notes with a quick swipe – and enjoy a clean calendar month after month.
3) Snap your paperwork into place
Avery Heavy-Duty Binders are a home safety deposit box for all your tax paperwork. Organize information into categories with Avery Dividers. For small, loose items such as receipts, tuck them into three-hole punched Avery Sheet Protectors for safekeeping. For paperwork that needs your immediate attention, use the spacious pockets inside the cover to hold records, forms and notifications. Be sure to include the tax year into the spine holder for easy reference. And keep copies of your return in the binder, so you can refer to them next tax season.
Chances are you’ll never look forward to tax season. But you might be surprised at how a little more organization can make you feel less overwhelmed by the tax preparation process.
By Avery Products Corporation
Haven’t filed your taxes yet? Neither have about 25% of other taxpayers. So, chin up. Take a deep breath. Then power through the process with these last-minute tax tips—and a little help from Avery.
Focus. Feel sharpest at a certain time of the day? Tax preparation requires concentration. And that’s especially true when you’re under pressure. So, work on your return when you’re peaking mentally. Snack on foods that fuel mental agility (such as almonds or walnuts), or boost your energy with a cup of green tea or coffee.
Gather that paperwork. Yes, it’s a pain. But, working on your return without first having all the necessary paperwork only makes the process longer. So, find whatever you need—which could include Forms W2, 1099-INT and 1098, as well as receipts for business, medical, real estate tax and charitable contribution payments. Use last year’s tax return to guide you. Make sure to only submit the forms and schedules the IRS requires.
Make organizing easier. Simplify the process of sorting paperwork by using different file folders for categories such as income statements, deductible expenses and investment information using Avery File Folder Labels.
Double-check your Social Security number. Believe it or not, many people incorrectly enter their Social Security number. This confuses the IRS—never a good thing. Besides, you’ll need an accurate Social Security number to qualify for credits, exemptions and deductions.
Make last-minute contributions. Many contributions must be made by December 31st of the previous year. But, you can often sneak in some tax-deductible contributions—such as IRA or Health Savings Account payments—before the April 15th deadline, and lower your tax burden. Check with your tax professional for more information.
Itemize. It’s tempting to just take your standard deduction when playing beat-the-clock with the IRS. But, itemizing could result in huge savings, especially if you’ve made large charitable, medical or real estate tax payments.
Sign the return. Sounds simple, right? Believe it or not, many taxpayers forget to sign and date their return. And that’s a problem. The IRS views an unsigned return as being invalid.
File electronically. Tax software speeds the preparation process, provides reminders about eligible deductions and catches most math mistakes. Many tax preparation companies offer free e-filings for basic returns, and the IRS provides free tax software to individuals who earn less than $60,000.
Ask for more time. Sometimes the smartest move is to request an extension. It’s better than rushing through your return, forgetting valuable deductions, overlooking required paperwork or making silly math errors. Filing Form 4868 usually gives you another six months to get your act together. You can also avoid late-payment penalties and possible interest charges by paying at least 90% of the estimated amount you owe. Can’t afford to do that? File for the extension, pay as much as you can and then set up a payment plan with the IRS.
Store in a safe place. Once your taxes have been filed, hold onto that paperwork. Keep your tax files in a protective storage container for future reference. Indicate what’s inside the container with Avery Full-Sheet Labels so they’re easy to identify at a glance. Use the free pre-designed templates on Avery Design & Print to create custom labels right from your printer in no time.
While Avery can’t figure your taxes for you, we can make the filing process simpler this year—and beyond. But don’t be too hard on yourself for being a tax procrastinator. It’s a busy world, and preparing your taxes may not be a priority for you. And, take solace knowing you have plenty of company. Just apply these tips to make the job a little easier…and then reward yourself when you’re finished!
You're not the only one who's busy at year end. With tax season upon us, scammers are working overtime to create new, slicker ways to trick you into divulging personal data in order to steal your money and identity. Watch out for these popular tricks aimed at catching you off guard.
Email scams take many forms, but the best ones come from email addresses that sound legitimate like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. They use the IRS logo with names and signatures of actual IRS executives. If you click on a link within the email, it takes you to a site that looks just like the official IRS website and asks you to provide personal information such as name, address, bank account number, PIN, social security number, or even your mother's maiden name or your place of birth. Often the emails contain misspellings or ungrammatical phrasing common to non-native English speakers, a red flag that it originates overseas. Some of the specific hooks they use to trick you include...
1. Economic Stimulus. The fraudster claims the government has just announced a new, easier way to receive refunds as part of the Economic Stimulus program. To take advantage of it, all you need to do is have your refund direct deposited through an online form. It adds a sense of urgency by saying refunds will be delayed if the online form is not completed by a certain date.
2. Take the survey. In this scam, you're invited to participate in an IRS customer satisfaction survey that pays you $80. It starts with standard questions but ends with asking for your account details so they can credit you the $80.
3. Return errors. This email states that your return has inaccuracies that will delay your refund. For example, your social security number filed does not match the IRS records, or you forgot to sign and date the return. You are asked to confirm personal details before the return can be accepted.
4. You're under investigation. This fraud preys on the fear of every tax-paying American - an IRS investigation. It claims the IRS suspects you of tax fraud and as part of its investigation it demands answers to personal data.
5. Additional refund due. This scheme claims you're owed a refund just discovered by a recent IRS recalculation. It's usually an odd, but legitimate-sounding amount like $156.29. In order to claim it, you must submit a form accessed via a link. Clicking on the link automatically downloads malware that enables crooks to spy and collect your passwords and logins.
If any of this happens to you, email the IRS at email@example.com to lodge a complaint.
Although phone scams typically target seniors, they can trick any unsuspecting soul.
1. Social security refund. The fakers tell the victim they can get his or her Social Security payroll taxes refunded for an upfront fee based on the size of the refund. Of course, the refund is inflated as is their upfront fee. The problem is, the law doesn't allow a refund of taxes paid into Social Security.
2. Early bird reward. The caller offers a reward for filing your return early. All you need to do is provide your bank details. They'll even get you on a three-way call with your bank to "help" ensure you'll be properly credited.
The IRS doesn't reward early birds, and for official business they NEVER contact taxpayers via email. They may send out emails with general information, but they will never request personal information online. It uses US Mail for all authorized communication. The only official IRS site is www.irs.gov. You should never go there by clicking on a link but only by typing the address directly into your browser. Tax refunds are strictly obtained through an annual tax return, not a separate application form or any other process. Never give out personal information to unknown callers via the phone.
Start preparing now
Whether you're an early or last minute filer, there's a lot to be aware of this tax season. Stay on the look out and make sure you've got everything lined up to make year-end preparation less taxing. Twists OP has an enormous array of official IRS tax forms and materials to streamline the process. Make your list, check it twice and call them today!
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