Planning For 2013 Tax Season
Start Planning Now for Next Year's Tax Return
The tax deadline may have just passed but planning for next
year can start now. Being organized and planning ahead can save time, money and
headaches in 2013. Here are eight things you can do now to make next April 15
1. Adjust your withholding
Why wait another year for a big refund? Now is a good time to review your withholding
and make adjustments for next year, especially if you'd prefer more money in
each paycheck this year. If you owed at tax time, perhaps you'd like next
year's tax payment to be smaller. Use IRS's Withholding Calculator at www.irs.gov or Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax
2. Store your return in a safe place
Put your 2011 tax return and supporting documents somewhere secure so you'll know
exactly where to find them if you receive an IRS notice and need to refer to
your return. If it is easy to find, you can also use it as a helpful guide for
next year's return.
3. Organize your recordkeeping
Establish a central location where everyone in your household can put tax-related records all year long. Anything from a shoebox to a file cabinet works. Just be
consistent to avoid a scramble for misplaced mileage logs or charity receipts
come tax time.
4. Review your paycheck
Make sure your employer is properly withholding and reporting retirement account
contributions, health insurance payments, charitable payroll deductions and
other items. These payroll adjustments can make a big difference on your bottom
line. Fixing an error in your paycheck now gets you back on track before it
becomes a huge hassle.
5. Shop for a tax professional early
If you use a tax professional to help you strategize, plan and make financial
decisions throughout the year, then search now. You'll have more time when
you're not up against a deadline or anxious for your refund. Choose a tax
professional wisely. You are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of your own
return regardless of who prepares it. Of course, feel free to call me!!
6. Prepare to itemize deductions
If your expenses typically fall just below the amount to make itemizing advantageous, a bit of planning to bundle deductions into 2012 may pay off. An early or extra
mortgage payment, pre-deadline property tax payments, planned donations or
strategically paid medical bills could equal some tax savings. See the Schedule
A instructions for expenses you can deduct if you're itemizing and then prepare
an approach that works best for you.
7. Strategize tuition payments
The American Opportunity Tax Credit, which offsets higher education expenses, is
set to expire after 2012. It may be beneficial to pay 2013 tuition in 2012 to
take full advantage of this tax credit, up to $2,500, before it expires. For
more information, see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.
8. Keep up with changes
Find out about tax law changes, helpful tips and IRS announcements all year by subscribing to
IRS Tax Tips through www.irs.gov or IRS2Go, the mobile app from the IRS. The IRS
issues tips regularly during summer and tax season. Special Edition tips are
sent periodically with other timely updates.
The IRS emphasizes that each household's financial
circumstances are different so it's important to fully consider your specific
situation and goals before making large financial decisions.
You can find forms and publications at www.irs.gov or order them by calling 800-TAX-FORM
Internal Revenue Service. May 2, 2012. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=257050,00.html