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A Primer for the 2017 Tax Season

posted on Monday, January 9, 2017 in Education

Tax season is upon us, and that may elicit groans from the many people who see filing taxes as a hassle. Tax anxiety, however, doesn’t take away the fact that it is time to make sure you are prepared to file your income taxes.

Tax season doesn’t have to be stressful. With a little organization, filing taxes can be a relatively simple process. The first step is to keep all tax documents in one place, so they can be accessed easily when you need them.

Five tips for a successful tax season

While staying organized is the No. 1 thing you can do to ensure tax-time success, there are many more ideas that Northwest Bank would like to suggest as you prepare to file this year. Following are five tips to make sure you are ready for tax season.

  1. Gather all necessary documents. These include tax forms, such as W-2s, receipts, records of charitable contributions and anything else you need to report on your income taxes.
  2. Seek professional assistance. The U.S. tax code is complicated, and it is important to seek outside help to make sure your taxes are filed accurately. Not everyone needs a CPA to work on their taxes. At the very least, you may consider using online programs like TurboTax and TaxAct, which can aid with simpler income tax returns.
  3. Know how tax law changes may affect you. Nearly every year there are changes to tax laws. Often these changes can be minor and affect only a small percentage of the population, but it is important to know what they are and how they will affect you.
  4. Avoid becoming a victim of tax fraud. Never give out personal information over the phone or through email. Make sure you have virus protection installed on your computer if you are filing online. If you receive suspicious emails claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), don’t respond; just delete the emails. The IRS will never send unsolicited email to taxpayers or request personal or financial information through email.
  5. Start planning for next year. After you successfully file your taxes this year, it’s not too early to think about next year. Use the results from your 2016 return to make adjustments to your 2017 taxes. If you did not withhold enough in 2016, you may want to consider increasing your payroll deduction. Now is the time to make any changes to ensure there are no surprises when filing your 2017 return.

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