5 Easy Ways to Prepare for Next Tax Season

Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2013

Tax time might be out of sight once again, but it shouldn’t be out of mind. There are ways you can — and should — be prepping for next year’s round.

In the video below Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has some tips on how to prepare for next year’s tax season right now. Check it out, then read on for more ways to prepare and save some money to boot.

Now that you have this year’s taxes out of the way, it’s time to get a jump on April 15, 2014.

1. Keep personal information organized.

Were you scrambling to find your kid’s Social Security number? Did you forget your spouse’s birth date? Tracking down this information just adds more time to an already time-consuming process. Pick a safe spot to store all the info you need. Consider a fireproof and waterproof safe like this SentrySafe for $39.97 at Amazon, which is also large enough to store important letter-sized documents.

What to store:

  • Last year’s taxes. You’re going to want this year’s tax returns to use as a guide for next year’s, so keep them in a secure spot. If your life doesn’t undergo major changes this year, filing taxes will be a breeze.
  • Personal data. Keep a list of important information like Social Security numbers and birth dates for you and your family.
  • Receipts. Start a receipt folder to store anything you might be able to deduct at the end of the year, such as home improvement purchases or business supplies.

2. Go digital.

If you’d rather go paperless, there are apps for that like DocVault. It lets you save 3GB worth of encrypted pictures and tax-related material like receipts and invoices, and allows you to add notes and tags to the photos for easy organization on DocVault’s servers. Come tax time, you have the option of transferring those images directly to filing services TaxAct Deluxe or TaxAct Preparer’s Enterprise, but you’ll have to pay for them first.

Receipt Catcher is an app that lets you take a photo of a receipt, tag it with info, and then email it to yourself. When you’re ready, you can print out a year’s worth of receipts in a few clicks. The app costs 99 cents and is available for both Android and iPhone.

3. Start thinking about tax breaks.

Before you file those papers away, review which deductions and credits you qualified for in 2012 and determine which ones you’ll be able to use this year. For example:

4. Review your documents.

Use your 2012 return to spot where you can and should save more money this year. For example:

5. Don’t withhold too much.

Uncle Sam loves getting interest-free loans, and many taxpayers make it possible by overpaying their taxes. Last year, the average tax refund was $2,803. But there are ways to keep that money in your pocket. We have tips, like using the IRS’s withholding calculator.

Take a few minutes to research what changes are in store for this year. Will the deductions and credits you used for 2012 be around for 2013? Are new deductions available? The more you know now, the easier it will be to minimize your tax liability.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Things I Always Buy at Costco
8 Things I Always Buy at Costco

From bacon to birthday cakes, here are my favorite deals at the popular warehouse store.

8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple
8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple

Ready for retirement? Not so fast. You might be surprised at some of the issues that come up for couples when they plan.

17 Home Upgrades That Rarely Help Close a Sale
17 Home Upgrades That Rarely Help Close a Sale

Real estate agents give these renovations low marks when it comes to helping sell homes.

8 Reasons Your Parents Had an Easier Retirement Than You Will
8 Reasons Your Parents Had an Easier Retirement Than You Will

Here’s why the last decades of life are harder now than they used to be.

7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement
7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement

It often makes financial sense to not pay off your mortgage before retiring.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.