Insurance and Finance

Your Tax Preparation Checklist

By Staci Parks 2.25.19

The only thing more intimidating than the looming April 15 deadline is going through a year’s worth of finances. But don’t let Tax Day get you down! Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned taxpayer, the advice is the same: be prepared and have a plan.

With this tax preparation checklist in hand, you can file your taxes on time and prepare for the year ahead.

Determine Your Needs

Before you get started, think about these basic questions.

  • Do you need assistance? Doing your taxes can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s worth the peace of mind to reach out to a professional. Assess your situation early, so you can get the help you need from a reputable source before the deadline.
  • What tax form(s) will you need? There are different forms for varying financial situations. Make sure you have the right one.

Gather Your Assets

Whether you’re sitting down with an accountant or going solo, have these items on hand to make the process a little easier:

  • Personal identification information such as your driver’s license and social security card.
  • A copy of last year’s tax return.
  • Forms reporting your income (e.g., W-2 for wages and salary, 1099-MISC for freelance wages, or a 1099-R for IRA, annuity, and pension income).
  • Applicable documents and information pertaining to your dependents such as birth dates, death certificates, alimony payments, and social security numbers.
  • See a full list of necessary items here.

Consider Your Deductions

It’s good practice to keep records of things you’d like to treat as itemized deductions, which can reduce your taxable income. Itemized deductions can include:

  • Insurance payments.
  • Property tax payments.
  • Student loan interest.
  • Financial contributions made toward retirement accounts.
  • Expenses you might have incurred from losses as a result of a natural disaster.
  • Charitable donations (these can include noncash donations and miles driven for charitable purposes).

See if you qualify for these potential tax write-offs.

Take Time to Look Ahead

While you’re at it, consider reviewing or revising your W-4. Your tax preparation checklist should include looking to the future. Significant life changes (such as the birth of a child or the death of a spouse or dependent) can ignite changes in your income, making this a good time to reassess your W-4.

This is also a good time to call your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent for a 360 Review. Much like taxes, your insurance policies need annual attention, too. A 360 Review gives you and your Agent a chance to thoroughly review the insurance coverage you have and any gaps that might make you and your family vulnerable. Your Agent will meet with you at your convenience to go over everything from auto insurance to liability.

With a plan in place, you’ll be ready for the challenges tax season brings.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation.

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