It’s tax filing season! 12 tips to help you file your 2021 income taxes
It’s tax filing season.
If you’re getting ready to file, try adding some of these tips to your tax preparation this season to make filing easier:
1. Important dates
This year, tax filing season is from Jan. 24, 17 days earlier than in 2021 due to the virus, and lasts through April 18, three days later than the normal April 15 deadline for filing taxes. April 18 is also the deadline for requesting an extension, which gives taxpayers until Oct. 17 to file their returns for 2021.
2. Make sure you’ve accounted for all income
For those who simply work one job, your W-2 will be all you need. If you take in income from another source, like renting a property, freelancing, or selling and reselling items, this income must also be noted in your taxes.
3. Compile all necessary documents
This includes things like income statements, donation receipts, and more.
4. Economic Impact Payment, advance Child Tax Credit Payment and unemployment benefits
Taxpayers who received a COVID-19 relief Economic Impact Payment, an advance Child Tax Credit payment, or unemployment benefits last year need to make sure they report the correct amount on their tax returns to avoid processing delays. The IRS will send letters to recipients of the impact payments and the advance Child Tax Credit payments and taxpayers can also check for the amounts they received on the website IRS.gov.
5. Charitable deduction changes
Taxpayers who don't itemize deductions may qualify to take a charitable deduction of up to $600 for married taxpayers filing joint returns and up to $300 for all other filers for cash contributions made in 2021 to qualifying organizations.
6. Do your homework
Read up on the updates to the taxes to make sure you’re familiar with them and fully understand what they’ll mean as you file.
7. Consider all deductions
Carefully go through the list of possible deductions, and you may be surprised to learn that you’re eligible for ones like homeowner expenses, student loan interest, or charitable contributions.
8. Start early
Giving yourself as much time as possible will give you time to correct any mistakes, as well as peace of mind knowing your taxes are all done!
9. File your taxes electronically
This can shorten the time it takes for the government to process your return. Plus, you can have the IRS directly deposit the refund into your bank account to cut even more time! Learn more about it here.
10. Eager to receive your refund?
Know when it’s coming with certainty by tracking your refund of both your state and federal refunds online.
Direct deposit gives taxpayers access to their refund faster than a paper check. Those without a bank account can learn how to open an account at an FDIC-insured bank or through the National Credit Union Locator Tool. Veterans should see the Veterans Benefits Banking Program for access to financial services at participating banks.
Click the links below to track your refund:
11. Prepare for the future
Give your future self a hand and prepare for next year’s taxes by considering any and all missteps you experienced this year that made filing your taxes more difficult. For example, making an appointment with a personal accountant, keeping better track of important documents, and updating the amount of tax withheld from your paycheck in the upcoming year can make filing next year that much easier.
12. Digitize your documents
You probably know how helpful compiling your documents is, but digitizing them will be a real game-changer for next year. You can use a scanner or a mobile app to upload them to your computer.
Information in this article was researched and compiled by Senior Digital Producer Sandrina Rodrigues.