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It’s officially 2019 – we hope the year is off to a great start for you! With the holidays behind us, it’s time to start looking ahead to what the new year has in store. Mark your calendars, everyone.

Tax Day falls on a Monday, April 15th, this year. Tax Day (the deadline for filing your taxes) may still be several months away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing for it now. After all, getting a head start is better than being snuck up on! So what can you do to ready yourself for 2019’s tax season? We have the answers.

Gather necessary information and items.

To start, you’ll need your social security and ID cards. If you’re married or have dependents, you’ll need your spouse’s and dependents’ information as well. This should include their social security numbers, dates of birth, and any other relevant documents (such as adoption papers or 8332 forms). You might also need your banking information (routing and account numbers) in the event that you receive a tax refund.

Be sure to review your filing status as this affects how much you owe in taxes every year!

If you’re itemizing deductions or if you made charitable contributions this year, you will need receipts and documents showing as such. Make sure you have these on hand!

Collect forms regarding your income.

If you’re employed, you will need your W-2 form (your employer will have this to you by January 31st). The W-2 form has all the necessary details regarding your salary and wages as well as state and federal tax withholdings. If you are unemployed and receiving unemployment or otherwise, you will need a variation of the 1099 form.

If you aren’t sure what type of form you may need, take a look at this list by the IRS.

Determine where and how you’re filing.

Some people opt to file their taxes on their own, but many often choose to pay a professional to handle their taxes to minimize potential mistakes. You might also elect to use an online taxpaying service (for free!) like TurboTax. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make, but make sure you schedule plenty of time for filing your taxes, especially if you need to make an appointment or otherwise!

Use your resources.

Don’t let your questions go unanswered! The IRS has many helpful tools on their site, including the Interactive Tax Assistant.

You can also estimate your 2019 tax return using this calculator – but remember, this is an estimate and is not guaranteed, so don’t make any financial decisions based on the tax breaks you think you’ll be receiving. Depending upon how much you paid in per month, your income, your dependents and deductibles, it is possible that you might owe money, rather than getting a return. You can use this to determine if you might owe money this year.

You have plenty of time to start getting your affairs in order, but we highly recommend having a plan and taking care of things as soon as you can. You can file your taxes as soon as you get your W-2 form!

Remember, the earlier you file, the earlier you’ll get your tax return!