4 tips for tax filing
Once again, the inevitable tax season is upon us. Follow these tips to help you get through the hassle without breaking your sanity or bank account.
- Make sure your tax pro is filing online so you can get a quicker refund. The IRS claims the e-file option is fast, secure, accurate and those who elect for a direct deposit can get their refund in as little as 10 days. Unfortunately, if you're filing for a new homebuyer credit, you still have to file a paper tax return. Regardless, be sure to remember what your grandma always said — don't spend it all in one place!
- Keep track of your paper trail. The Internal Revenue Service has three years to audit returns, so they suggest holding on to your paperwork for at least three to seven years. If you still have paperwork from the '80s, it's time to let it go — along with the frosted perm, stirrup pants and splatter-paint Keds.
- Consolidate the clutter. If your pile of receipts has gotten out of control, try photocopying as many as you can onto a single sheet of paper. It will be easier to organize your invoices, save room and keep your accountant from being buried under an avalanche of paperwork.
- This is a year to die for. Due to a loophole, there's no estate tax in 2010. However, this could change and be re-enacted retroactively, so consult a tax preparer to avoid IRS trouble. If Aunt Betty was worth less than $3.5 million, you have nothing to worry about — except what to do with her Precious Moments collection.