Pile of tax forms.
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Tax preparation could be a messy process, but organization is possible.

If it's the beginning of April and all you've assembled to file your taxes is a messy pile of receipts, statements, and blank tax forms, you could probably use some organizational help. The average person spends more than 21 hours -- nearly a full day -- assembling and completing his or her annual tax return. Add 11 hours to that time if you plan to file a schedule C for business or a schedule E for rental properties [source: MSN].

The less time you've spent organizing things for the tax preparation process, the more time you're going to spend fumbling around for the right paperwork, and the more likely you are to make a mistake or miss out on a big deduction.

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Having the right documents and forms on hand could save you a lot of time and money on your taxes. Using the right tools to organize your taxes could mean the difference between sending hundreds, or even thousands, of extra dollars to Uncle Sam.

In this article, you'll learn some valuable tips for getting your taxes in order -- including the forms you'll need, when you'll need them, and some valuable deductions you might have otherwise overlooked.