Tax season is approaching, and it won't be long before you will start receiving the appropriate forms in the mail. You may have opted to receive your documents electronically, in which case you will want to check with your payroll office to find out when and how they will deliver these forms.
There may be many reasons why your tax preparation is complex. Complications could revolve around your income by working in more than one state or country, or perhaps you run a business, own rental property or maintain a trust. Maybe you have just gone through a divorce. In any case, you want your tax preparation to be painless and your refund to come fast.
You can help yourself
While you may not be looking forward to the evening or weekend of scratching your head, flipping through instructions and punching numbers into your calculator, you are likely anticipating your refund. Perhaps you already have plans for the money. Going on vacation? Purchasing a new appliance? Paying down some debt? Whatever your plans for the money, you certainly don't want to do anything that would cause the IRS to delay sending your refund.
Whether you do your own taxes or find a skilled professional to assist you, having everything in order will streamline the process considerably. Some factors that can delay your refund and potentially even require you to file an amended return in the future include the following:
- Failing to have all the necessary documents when you complete your tax return, including: W-2 forms from your employers; Form 1099 from anyone who paid you to do contract work or freelancing, or from an institution that paid you dividends or interest on investments; Form 1095-A from the Marketplace for those claiming the Premium Tax Credit through the Affordable Care Act
- Neglecting to update your current mailing address for all your payers, employers and financial institutions, as well as with the IRS
- Forgetting to renew your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number if you are a nonresident alien who cannot obtain a Social Security Number
The amount of time it takes for you to receive your refund, if the IRS owes you a refund, varies depending on several factors. If you file electronically, for example, and request direct deposit, your refund usually comes much faster than for someone who uses a paper form and wants a paper refund check.
You may find that the complexity of your tax return is more than you can manage with confidence and accuracy. If this is the case, you may decide to seek the assistance of a professional with experience in preparing taxes for individuals in a variety of circumstances. Such an attorney will have a thorough understanding of California and federal tax laws and will advise you on the best ways to minimize your tax burden.