Start collecting your tax documents now

Your tax documents will start rolling in any day now which means you need to get your ducks in a row to be ready to file. In order not to be overwhelmed you have to tackle the chore of tax prep step-by-step. Let's start by collecting your own documents.

Get your social security number ready and your spouse's too. This goes for both of your tax ID numbers, too. I know you're thinking, well, that's easy. Sure, but if you wait until the last minute to jot that stuff down, it adds to the stress. You also need to jot down your dependent's social security numbers and date of birth. Don't forget the childcare info like the daycare provider's tax ID number. Believe me, the sitter will appreciate you asking now rather than last minute in a panic with the other 50 parents doing the same thing. Just get it now. Get that same information if you are supporting, perhaps, another adult in the home like an elderly relative.

  • DOBs

Time to gather your tax documents

Ok, now start to gather sources of income. Here are eight things to collect: your employment records like your W-2 or 1099 forms, last year's state refund, unemployment documents, rental income, retirement documents, and savings, investments and social security, and finally number eight your HSA savings. That's your health savings account. 

But it's not limited to those eight things. Those are just what many of us will need to complete a return. But for fun, here are a few most of us won't have but some of you will like gambling income and loss records, hobby income, prizes and awards even royalty checks.

None of this is hard to do. It's just gathering documents. But if you put it off and you can't immediately find something then doing your taxes becomes very, very taxing.