It’s that time of year, time to calculate how much you owe Uncle Sam or how much you money you let the government borrow all year, interest free. This article, however isn’t about adjusting your deductions so you bring home more money it’s about the importance of keeping good records and receipts throughout the year.
Turbo Tax has a great online tax software that allows you to completely do your taxes online and they only charge you if you actually file through them. It’s a great way to double check yourself or get an exact estimate of how much money you will get back or pay this year even if you have your taxes professionally prepared. The software keeps track of your total return or amount owed as you go through each step of preparing your taxes. After you enter your W2 it give you a tally, enter more miscellaneous income and it gives you a tally, enter deductions it gives you a tally, etc. Anyway, I took advantage of this great software and filled out our tax information completely before I took them to our accountant this year and I’ll compare the results.
As I was filling out our information I realized that we have neglected a good deduction for the past few years. Our accountant always asks us if my wife, who is in education, has any educators expenses that we would like to claim. I guess I never realized that you can claim up to $250 for this and you get most of it back. Throughout the year she spends a few dollars here and there and I’m sure it would add up to close to $250 but we never save the receipts. Because we were not prepared we will probably lose over $100 in taxes this year.
So don’t think it’s too early to start preparing for your 2009 taxes. Start a folder today with receipts and donations. Keep good records throughout the year and you will be rewarded. Also learn about all the different deductions offered so you can track them throughout the year instead of scrambling through documents in February!