Money Talks: Organizing for Income Taxes

Taxes - they can be a breeze or a nightmare. And a lot of what can make the difference? Being organized.

However you do your taxes, whether going to an accountant or doing it yourself with software, if you want a faster finish and way less stress, you've got to be organized before you start. Tip number one: Be social.

Every human being listed on your return - whether dependent or income-earner, has to have a Social Security number. Don't start without them.

Once you've identified the people, identify the income. From dividends to interest, to salaries, you'll get W-2s and 1099s in the mail that identify where the money came from. If you don't have them by the end of January, start calling.

How can you know what you're missing? Well, take a look at last year's tax return for a clue as to what you need for this year's.

And while you've got last year's return, look at deductions. If you pay mortgage interest, you'll get a 1098. Pay property taxes? Also deductible, and possibly also on your mortgage 1098.

Now's also the time to be rewarded for being charitable. If you donated last year, dig up your receipts.

Bottom line? Before you sit down to do your taxes, get organized. Look at least year's return. Think about what you'll need, think about other income or expenses you might be able to deduct for this year. Get everything together and doing your taxes is going to be a lot less taxing.

Want more information? You know we've got it for you right here. Go to and do a search for "2013 Tax Hacks."

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