10 Surprising Tax Preparation Tips

Get Organized
Get a filing system in place at the beginning of the calendar year – and USE IT – to avoid scrambling at tax time. ©iStock/Thinkstock

OK, getting organized isn't really a surprise tip. But, what may be surprising is that if you use an accountant, it will cost you more money -- maybe a lot more -- if you're not organized. If you just dump a shoebox full of receipts on her desk and say, "Have at it," she's going to charge you for both the insult and the inconvenience.

Here are a few things you'll need to have on hand when you or your accountant does your taxes. Try keeping everything organized in one place as the year goes by. You'll be glad you did come April [sources: Rosen, Yochim].

  • W-2 and 1099 forms.
  • Documents related to other income.
  • Documents related to homebuyer or green energy tax credits, IRA contributions and mortgage and student loan interest.
  • Documents related to education, child care or adoption costs; charitable contributions; and business, medical, job-search and home office expenses.
  • Receipts for expenses such as repairs to rental property, gambling losses, last year's tax preparation fees and charitable work.
  • Documents related to personal events in your life, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree or adoption papers.

Remember, being organized all year, no matter who does your taxes, can save you a lot of time -- and maybe money come April 15.