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How to make sure you are ready come tax time

Everybody dreads that time of year when you have to submit those taxes, waiting in anticipation to find out whether you owe taxes this year or will receive a nice refund.And no one really enjoys the hassle of trying to make sure that you have everything together that you need to.You may not even be sure that you are ready.So here are some tips on how to make sure that you are ready come tax time.

If you're doing your own taxes, you must first be sure that you have all the applicable updated software prepared and ready to use.Do you know how to use it?Have you used it before?Will you be able to efficiently input all your information?Don't waste time trying to figure out your tax software 2 nights before your taxes are due.Figure it all out now.If you plan to do your own taxes and you don't have any software yet, you might want to consider getting some.But do this now, before it's too late.You don't want to have to pay extra shipping charges or just loose out on early-bird specials because you waited too long to decide what you wanted to do.If you're not going to do your own taxes, be sure you've found a reliable and intelligent accountant to handle your finances.Do a bit of background on that firm's reputation.Be sure that the person looking at your finances will do so honestly and smartly.

Next, if you're an employer, you have a few extra things to worry about.Here's a small checklist for you:

- Prepare W2s and/or W3s.Be sure that all the information (names, addresses, ID numbers, etc) are correct.
- 1099's- Again, be sure that all the information here (name, addresses, ID numbers, etc.)is correct.
- Check to see if you have anyone who is an IC, but should be an employee?
- Check to see if any of your your employees qualify as Statutory Employees and therefore benefit from an amended tax return.
- Prepare your sales tax returns
- Gather and assemble all of your household employees
- Prepare all your ES payments
- Make or change SCorp Election, if needed
- If your company has undergone rapid changes over the year, did you remember to file corp/partnership dissolution (or final return)?
- Set up an Agri-BizPlan in a section 105 plan
- Set up a family payroll, if you haven't done so yet.
- Be sure that you've made all electronic (EFTPS) payroll tax payments
- Open an IRA or ROTH IRA
- Open a Section 539 College Savings account
- Be sure that you've amended your prior year's tax returns (and corrected errors or changes in file).
- Check to see if you're entitled to educational credits
- Check up on your charitable donations
- Get any Out of State forms that you need for yourself or your employees

Basically, the most important thing that you must do before tax season begins is to get your documents in order.If you have your documents gathered already, preparing your own taxes should be a cinch.And even if you're having a professional figure your taxes, it will go much smoother for both of you if your documents are all in place and ready to go.You will be happier because it will be much less difficult and will be over much faster.Your accountant will be happy because s/he won't have to call and hound you for more information about certain things.So don't drag your feet- just get out there and get prepared.

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