I've already received several questions from readers about when they should start to prepare and file their taxes. Instead of just responding individually, I thought I toss up this quick post.
The IRS recently released guidance about the 2013 tax season, which is a good read if you're curious, but I highlight the main points below:
When To Start Preparing Your Taxes
It's never too early to start preparing your 2013 taxes. In fact, I've already started receiving 1099-DIV forms from several investments I own, since they've already paid their last dividend of 2013. You might start receiving tax forms soon as well.
In order to keep organized, I have a binder that I keep available all year called “Taxes”. Then, as tax forms and receipts I need come in throughout the year, I can file them directly in this binder to be organized when it comes to tax time. It saves a lot of time tracking stuff down, since it's already in one spot.
Chances are, though, you're not going to be able to finalize your taxes until the end of February. The reason? You likely won't receive your W-2 from work until the end of January, and your investment companies have until Feb. 15 to send out the rest of their 1099s.
If you keep accurate records using personal finance software like Personal Capital, you may have some of the information already handy, but you should verify the information you have against the finalized 1099.
Finally, you can start prepping your tax return in TurboTax right now for free! TurboTax is once again offering free e-File for Federal returns this year. It's a great way to make sure that you taxes are prepared correctly, and save a little money in the process. I've used TurboTax the last 10 years, and have been a fan. Plus, by starting to input your stuff now as the paperwork comes in, you can save a lot of time later.
When You Can File Your 2013 Taxes
The IRS issued guidance this year that the following dates will apply to tax season:
- The IRS originally planned to start accepting returns on
- The IRS now says it will start accepting individual returns on January 31
So, you can electronically submit your taxes at the end of January.
The bottom line is that you don't need to rush – take your time and do your taxes right. You have until April 15 to file them. Then, once you file them, be sure to look at when you can expect your 2013 tax refund!