The more you can be proactive about gathering the items and reviewing them when they come in the better prepared you will be when it is time to pass the information and the forms to your tax professional.
You have probably started getting 1099s of various types for financial statements, school tuition, contract work, or other income sources, as well as W-2s if you have an employer. If you are an employer, January 31st was the deadline to send out 1099s. The consolidated tax statements from your brokerage accounts must be sent by February 15th.
Make sure you look these over and review for any potential discrepancies.
If there are no errors, put them in that folder or envelope you made last month labeled “For TAXES” along with any tax-related statements you have received. If something looks odd or incorrect, now is the time to make contact with that institution to get any corrections made. This will be an ongoing process for the next few weeks, so be diligent with your organization.
First Week of February – If you haven’t already, make contact with your CPA/Tax Preparer. Many will have checklists or at minimum, will want to schedule a time to review what they need. They may also have a first-come, first-serve list, so now is the time to reach out. If you prepare your own taxes, this is still the best time to get things organized.
Second Week of February – If you use a software program, use this time to run any reports and review for accuracy. If you don’t use a financial software system, pull out and review those paper statements and other tax-related documents. Make sure you follow up on anything unusual and check to see if there are missing documents. (Many financial institutions issue 1099s electronically. Make sure you check your email and locate these documents which can be printed out or uploaded electronically.)
End of February – Once your tax documents are in order and ready for filing, you can relax and take a breather knowing you are ready to file taxes anytime before the deadline of Thursday, April 18th, 2022.
**If you’d like more time to file your taxes, you’ll need to submit Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) by April 18, 2022, or your particular tax deadline. With a tax extension, you can extend your filing due date by six months, up to October 15th.