things to know 2015 tax returnIt’s January and that can only mean one thing. It’s time to start thinking about taxes again. The Christmas tree is gone, the decorations are safely stored away in the attic, the big crystal ball has dropped in Times Square and the kids are finally back in school and no longer driving you crazy with cries of “I’m so bored” and “there’s nothing to do.” The next big holiday (depending on your definition of big) won’t come till Memorial Day in May. So, while you might want to push even the very thought of taxes out of your mind, there’s no better time than the present to get ready for tax season. The IRS has announced that the first day it will start receiving tax returns is on January 19. There’s a small piece of good news for those who like to procrastinate, too. The tax due date this year will actually be on Monday, April 18, because April 15 falls on Emancipation Day, which is a federal holiday. That means procrastinators get three extra days to get their return filed and turned in.

Make Sure You “Know” These Things

Whether you like to get your taxes done as soon as possible, or you’re one of those taxpayers that drive to the nearest post office box to drop off your return at 11:59 pm the day taxes are due, there are some things you should know and some things you should do before you file your return. For example, make sure you acquaint yourself with any new tax laws and policies that would affect your tax situation. Also, consider all the important changes in your life over the last year. Here’s something else that can be helpful. Did you know that you can access all the necessary tax forms and worksheets to complete your return online? can be a great resource if you have general questions regarding your taxes. Remember, what you don’t know can actually hurt you, so make sure you educate yourself and understand everything that’s going on with taxes this year that apply to you and your refund.

Make Sure You “Do” These Things

As for the list of things to do, you should start by gathering, collecting and organizing all of your important tax documents for the 2015 tax year. That means, pay stubs, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, receipts, charitable donations, expenses, deductions and anything else that filling out your tax return might require should be located and organized. Whether you plan to do your taxes yourself, or take them to a tax professional, these are items that you will need before you begin the filing process. If you are going to hire a tax professional then it’s a good idea to choose one as early in the tax season as possible. As the due date nears accountants and tax pros tend to get busier and busier, which means they might not have time for your return as the deadline nears. Also, make sure that the tax pro you choose is truly a pro so you don’t end up on the short end of the stick.

Don’t Wait to Get Ready

The bottom line is whether you look forward to tax season or you treat it like a plague, unless you’re one of the few individuals exempt from filing, you have to file a return. The tax season can go smoothly or it can go badly. The difference is up to every individual taxpayer. So, if you want this year’s experience to go smoothly, then don’t procrastinate. Start getting ready now and, if things go well, you could be enjoying your refund in a just a few short weeks from now. Just imagine what you could do with all that extra cash.