Entering Tax Season Prepared

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The old saying goes, the only things certain in life are death and taxes.
Well Monday marks the first day you can file your 2017 federal tax return. But for those who aren’t financial experts, taxes can lead to some stress and confusion.
Whether you are filing your taxes online or with an agency you are going to need your W-2 and if applicable your mortgage statement and proof of stocks, bonds,  and dividends.
Experts encourage tax payers to file as soon as possible.

“Part of it is to just go ahead and get your tax return in early, it cuts down on identity theft which has been an increasing problem over the last, probably, 5 or 6 years,” says Joe Coonce, Enrolled Agent at Staddler & Company Tax Service.

Due to the 2015 Path Act, some may have to wait longer than others to file because certain forms cannot be processed until after February 15th.

“Those are the tax returns that have the Earned Income tax credit on it, the Additional Child tax credit, and some of the education credits,” says Coonce.

These days it is easy to file using online software, but for others like Jacob Panagouleas, they prefer to consult an expert.

“It gives you a piece of mind saying you know they went over everything with you, everything is good, and you are good to go,” says Panagouleas.

Even if you don’t end up filing through an agency it can be beneficial to make an appointment before you file on your own.

“You may not be getting all of the benefits that you may or may not be entitled to,” says Coonce.

For those who are filling out the FAFSA, filing early can be crucial.

“We also have the FAFSA forms that need to go ahead and be completed by the end of February,” says Coonce. You don’t have to have taxes filed to fill out FAFSA, but it does make the process easier.

When it comes to taxes, an expert opinion could save you more than a few bucks.

“Definitely crossing all your T’s and dotting your I’s for you. They try to get you the biggest refund as you can, that piece of mind that they are an expert and they know what they are talking about,” says Panagouleas.

Union workers might see some changes on their taxes this year, but for most others there are not any major tax changes for this filing year. However, when we file in 2019 for the 2018 tax year, we will see the new tax laws that have been put in place start to take effect.

Monday may be the first day to file, but this year the deadline has been extended.
That’s because April 15th falls on a Sunday.
 

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