Whether you plan to file your taxes yourself, use a tax preparation service or hire an accountant, the best place to start is by making a list and gathering all of your information beforehand. This is exactly how I do it, and Lori shared her experience doing it this way in a recent comment as well:
A trick I started a few years ago is to make a checklist of all the things I needed before I could start. I used to just go through the TurboTax questions and hunt for the stuff as the questions popped up. This was time consuming and I always ended up putting it off and coming back several times before I was done. Now I have a checklist and when I have all the items on the checklist I will start. This has made it do much easier to get through.
Although I started to make a list of my own, a quick Google search turned up several comprehensive lists that are ready to be printed and used to help you organize your tax information.
Here are a few so you can choose the one that works best for you:
- Tax Preparation Checklist by Turbo Tax
- Tax Prep Checklist by A&E Tax Service
- Tax Preparation Checklist by Michael G. Johnston, CPA
Have you used a checklist for your tax preparation in the past? Why or why not?