Tax day, April 17,2018, is just around the corner. Whether you plan to complete them in a weekend or are pulling together the information to give to your tax preparer, here are a few tips to get started.

Be Prepared

  • Create a tax checklist to gather all of the documents you'll need.
  • Download the latest catalog of forms and publications from 
  • Most tax software programs will allow you to input your information early. Start filling in your information now, so that you're not rushing to complete it in April.
  • If you have dependents, make sure you know their Social Security numbers so that your return isn't delayed. If you are divorced, decide which parent will claim the children beforehand to prevent an audit or delay.
  • You may have until April 17, 2018 to contribute to your traditional and Roth IRA for 2017. Check the IRS website for specific contribution information. 

Did you....

  • Have a major life change in 2017, such as a mew mortgage, marriage, divorce or baby? You may need to file a new W-4.
  • Move? Update your mailing address with your employers, clients and institutions that hold back your investments and bank accounts. If the forms have already been sent, contact the companies and ask to change your address. 

Expecting a refund? Pan ahead to avoid delays

  • Create a file for all of your forms, including W-2s from your employer, 1099 forms from banks, etc. These typically arrive in your mailbox through the month of January. If you receive these items electronically, create a file on your computer or print them out for your paper records. If you haven't received these forms yet, contact your employers, your bank and other applicable companies and institutions to find out why.
  • Keep a copy of your previous year's tax return, as well as any supporting information for the last three year's. Although there may be important changes this year, having information from previous years will make it easier to fill out this year's taxes, especially if you're completing them yourself.
  • Choose to e-file your taxes. According to the IRS, more then 90 percent of all returns are filed electronically. If you prepare your taxes yourself, consider using the free filing software from the IRS; the software's ability to check for errors is an added benefit of e-filing versus paper tax returns. If you have your taxes prepared by a professional, ask that they e-file your taxes for you. 
  • Get your refund earlier by choosing direct deposit. Reduce the chances of your refund check getting lost, stolen or declared undeliverable by choosing to have it deposited directly into your bank account. Be sure to check and double check your financial institution's routing number and your account number to ensure you receive it without delay. 

*All information is general in nature, not legal advice and not warranted or guaranteed. Readers are cautioned not to rely solely on this information. Because tax laws change, it is imperative to consult a professional tax adviser- such as an accountant- in your area regarding tax matters.