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3 Ways to Get Ready Now for Tax Season

For most of us, the transition from a season of cheer and merriment to one of paperwork and numbers can feel a little overwhelming. Fortunately, taking a few simple steps now can help save you from a lot of headache down the road.

Watch your mail – paper and electronic.

In today’s electronic age, many employers and financial institutions are beginning to send year-end statement notifications via email. While this can make filing and record maintenance a little easier, it also opens up consumers to a new type of fraud.

Electronic communications, such as emails and websites, can be easier to fraudulently recreate, so be sure to scrutinize any emails you receive claiming to be from your bank, credit card provider or government agency. The IRS’s website offers tips about watching for fraud during tax season.

Gather your receipts.

Get started on this earlier rather than later. And don’t skimp on the small receipts…all charitable donations or business expenses can add up! Even if you don’t typically itemize your filing, you should have an idea of deductions for next year. Scan or save photos of any hard-copy receipts for the cleanest, most secure form of record retention. (Just be sure you’re saving them somewhere secure - or better yet – save them on a secure, cloud-based system so that you can access them in case something happens to your hardware!)

Review tax changes. 

No year’s the same as the last. Before you start filing, be sure to check out which tax cuts have expired and any new cuts that your household may qualify for. Check out the IRS’s website for the most up-to-date information.