Get on a tax prep schedule

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OK, it's the end of the month so many of you have already received your W-2 Form. If you haven't, it's coming soon. So let's get you tax time ready with an easy-to-follow schedule. 
 
Get the numbers together. Sure, you know you're social security number and tax ID number, but make sure you have your spouse's or your ex's, too. And get out those tax returns from the last three years and have them ready to reference. 
 
        WEEK 1
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Tax ID Numbers
  • 3 Years of Past Returns
 
Now let's move on to week two. This week jot down your child care expenses. Get an end-of-year total. Do you pay alimony? Find out how much. And if you're the parent claiming the child get ready with the IRS's 8832 form. 
 
         WEEK 2
 
Education payments. Hopefully you have kept itemized receipts for educational expenses. And collect those scholarship records. You will need two forms here: 1098-T for tuition and 1098-E for student loan interest.
 
         WEEK 3
  • Education Payments
  • Scholarship Records
  • Forms: 1098-T and 1098-E
 
 
Week four focus on retirement income.  You'll need 1099-R for pension or IRS income and one for social security income. There's one for railroad retirement income and IRA contributions. If you have any other sources of income, get those numbers ready. 
 
         WEEK 4
 
In week five, tend to the Affordable Care Act. If you participate in the marketplace, you have information to gather here too. 
 
        WEEK 5
 
This gives you a template. You may need to do more than this, say, you're self-employed or drive your vehicle for work, carve out a few days for that. 
 
 
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