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Tax season is fast approaching once again. For many people, this time of year is incredibly stressful and always sneaks up on them. When April 15th gets close, it suddenly seems like you must fill out all of your tax returns immediately and you have nothing in order. Instead of waiting until the last moment to get your documents together, follow these tips to prepare yourself for tax season, so you have much less stress to deal with and will be infinitely more organized.

Have all the right identifications

If you use an accountant, it’s vital that they have your social security identification number, along with all the other ID numbers that are necessary for your taxes. If you and a spouse file jointly, you’ll need to include his or her social security number as well, and also those of any dependents, whether they’re children, family members, or adults living in your household. If you don’t follow these guidelines and provide these numbers, you may not receive as large a deduction as you would have otherwise or it may take an excessive amount of time to get your tax return.

Pay attention to donations

An easy way to get tax deductions is by keeping track of all the donations you’ve made throughout the year. Keep any tangible proof that you donated, such as letters of gratitude or receipts you receive when you drop items off at charity stores. If you aren’t provided with any evidence, ask whoever runs the charity or donation center if you could have a slip of paper stating what and how much you donated, so you can use it in case the validity of your claims is ever questioned.

Know your other assets

The IRS wants information on all of your assets, not only how much your income is. If you have a vacation home, retirement fund, or are saving for your child’s time in college, it’s important to disclose this information because the IRS charges according to your income. If this information is falsely represented, it could lead to massive fines and complications.

Keep accurate files

Keeping accurate files is essentially the secret to making tax season go smoothly. By keeping all of the pertinent information in one location and carefully filing and labelling it, once you finally begin filling out your tax forms, you won’t have to search for the information you need to provide. Keep copies of the tax forms you usually use and fill your papers out as soon as you can.

Do it early!

The IRS begins accepting tax returns around the middle of January. The earlier you can get your information in, the better. The sooner that the IRS has your tax information, the more quickly they’ll be able to get your tax refund. You’ll also feel less stressed about filing taxes if you start and know that you have two or three months ahead before they’re actually due to the government.