Tuesday, December 21, 2010

7 Steps to an Early Tax Refund

Tax season is closer than you think, so to get your tax refund back as quickly as possible, you need to get on the ball. I know, you’re all wrapped up in the holidays, but by starting your tax season chore list now, you’ll be ready to file and get your refund fast. Where do you start? MSN Money put together 7 steps to take in order to get your tax refund early. I have included a few of the items below, but click here for the full list.

    1. Get started

    The first step is the hardest. Stop thinking about it and get moving. Until you actually start your return, you'll never finish it. And that's probably going to slow down your refund.

    If you don't have all your numbers, just put your name and address on the form. It will get you in the mindset to move forward.

    Your first step is to break the inertia. As my father used to say, a trip of a thousand miles begins with a traffic jam. Break that jam and get moving.

    2. Accumulate the data

    January is collection month. By the second week of February, you should have the numbers in hand. Make sure you've gotten W-2s and any statements from your brokers and banks. You'll receive 1099 forms for any interest, dividends and stock sales.

    Your mortgage company will send you a Form 1098 for any interest and real-estate taxes paid. Get those statements together and review the numbers. They're not always right. They won't include any interest you paid at the very end of December because the creditor won't have received the money until 2011.

    3. Put the numbers in IRS categories

    Neither the Internal Revenue Service nor your CPA is going to add up those numbers for you. Well, maybe your CPA. Many years ago, a psychiatrist near Philadelphia paid me $150 an hour to open his mail because he couldn't be bothered.

Continue reading at MSN.com...

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