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Preparing for Tax Season: Mentally & Financially

Hand holding a yellow pencil over a receipt, graph paper, and a calculator

Let’s face it, everyone dreads tax season. Whether you owe on your return or expect to get money back, the process of preparing and filing your taxes can be a grueling process. Consider these tips to get you mentally and financially prepared for filing day.

1. Make a Check List

Before you even start your tax return, it’s a good idea to mentally prepare yourself. One way to relieve the pressure is to make sure you have a check list of all of the information you need to gather ahead of time so you’re not left worrying whether you included all of the right information. Turbo Tax has a great check list already made for anyone who needs to file a personal tax return, including things like what forms you’ll need for each portion of your return, what banking information you’ll need to pull, and what kind of deductions you should consider.

2. Find a Tax Preparer

If you’re uncomfortable with going the DIY of tax filing, you’ll want to find an accountant or tax preparer you can trust to have your best interest in mind. While it’s good to have someone to consult with year round, you can also find someone to help you just for tax season. Ask your friends or financial advisors for referrals and set up a meeting as soon as possible. The better relationship you can build with your tax preparer the more confident you’ll feel when it comes time to file.

3. Gather All Pertinent Information

With a checklist as your guide and your tax preparer squared away, it’s time to start compiling your documents. Make sure you get the appropriate paperwork from your employers, like a W-2 or 1099s, and any additional forms or statements needed for investments and loans. If you want to itemize your deductions, make sure you gather up any pertinent receipts and charitable contribution receipts. Highlands Community Bank’s online banking platform makes pulling bank statements simple and secure.

4. Review Tax Code Updates

While you can count on your tax preparer to be up to date on any changes to the tax code, it may give you peace of mind knowing about them ahead of time. This way, you’ll be sure you have all of the information prepared and you won’t be surprised by any changes to credits and deductions you may have been counting on.

5. Set Aside Money

If you do expect to owe on your taxes, you may want to start setting aside some money if you haven’t already. You’re not required to file your taxes until April 15 so if you are able to prepare your return early in the season, it may buy you some time to save up some cash. If you’re worried about being short come filing time, talk to your tax preparer about alternative options like filing late.

Whatever your financial situation is, preparing for tax season early will help you get through the season with less stress and more confidence. If you have any questions about your finances over the last year, your friends at Highlands Community Bank are just a phone call or branch visit away!

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