income tax, preparation — March 20, 2015

Springing into 2015

by Bob Williams

Tax Day, April 15

Ah, Spring!

It’s the time of year when sunshine becomes more the rule than the exception; breezes no longer carry the razor blades of Winter; and your thoughts no longer freeze solid as soon as they leave your head.

Life is good.

In fact, we lose sight that time actually accelerates this time of year; it will be May before we know it.

May??!! Really??

Does that pause mean you haven’t filed our income taxes yet?

If the answer is yes, take a deep breath, grab another cup of coffee and have a seat on the couch. Relax. We’ve got you covered.

The Solution

While the amount of time left before the income tax deadline is dwindling, there’s still plenty of time to e-file. It just takes a wee bit of planning and, of course, e-filing on

So, let’s get started.

As with any good game plan, you’ve got to get your moves down before the game starts. You’ll need copies of W-2s, printed 1099s if you have them, and key receipts for deductions. If you’re a student, you could have a 1098-T, a 1098-E or a 1099-Q.  In basic terms, try to have printed proof of anything you plan on mentioning in your return, whether it’s income or deduction.

Next, it always helps to have a copy of last year’s tax return at your fingertips. If you e-filed on last year, it’s easy! Just log into your account, click “My Account” at right, and click the 2013 return link to download it. Print at will.

It’s also a good idea to make a note of any important aspects of your return you want to include, such as auto expense, student loan or mortgage interest deduction. This helps ensure you don’t e-file without all the pieces in place.

Now, sign into your account. If you've already updated your information for this year, you can go directly into your return. The website may ask you if you want to import some forms from last year. If you have the same employer, for example, you can “roll over” last year’s W-2 and not have to fill in your employer’s information. You’ll still have to type in your numbers for this year, of course, but importing can save you a bit of time – especially if you have more than one W-2.

Getting to your forms is easy. One way is to answer the questions when you first sign into your return. There are areas like Income, Dependents, Deductions and so on. Your answers to the questions will bring up many of the forms you’ll need in your return.

You can also search for forms individually. Click Review on the left in your return and type part of the form name into the search box at the bottom of the screen. Your form should be included in the results. This works great for the various kinds of 1099s we have. Search for “1099,” and all our flavors of the 1099 will show.

Once you’ve e-filed, don’t forget to print out a copy of this year’s return for your records; you may need it for reference next year.

It’s Time to Make Time

As you can see, e-filing with can be quick, easy and accurate. So there’s really no reason not to jump in and take care of business now.

In fact, we think you’ll be surprised just how quickly you can go from e-filing to elongated – stretched out on your favorite beach towel, soaking up rays.

Even if the “beach” is really your back lawn and you had to teach your toddler how to take your selfie – you’re done with winter and done with taxes. For this year, anyway!

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