Fair warning: this might just be your least favorite Weekend Project EVER. It's not a physically demanding task, but it does require some real organizational energy. In case you dread it as much as I do, we're going to try breaking up the job into smaller manageable parts so that the whole ordeal doesn't seem so daunting. Check this one off your list though and, at the end of the weekend, I guarantee you'll be more relaxed and stress-free.
This Weekend's Assignment: Do all the leg work needed to file your taxes, well in advance of the deadline.
Even if don't do your own taxes these days, you still have to do all the initial prep before you turn the paperwork over to the CPA. Do it now and avoid the last-minute scramble right before the April deadline. Here is the basic list of what you need before you file:
Locate Past Tax Returns: If you are doing your own taxes, last year's return will show handy information you'll need, e.g. family members' SSN numbers, and adjusted gross income.
Gather All Income: Track down all the tax-related documents you've received in the mail, such as W-2 or 1099 forms for income, so that they are all in one easy-to-find place.
Reference Tax Payments: Find out exactly how much you've already contributed towards your taxes, so you don't wind up overpaying this year when you file.
Sort Expenses: Gather paperwork related to tax deductible expenses, like mortgage interest or childcare. This is also when you get out the shoebox of receipts from the past year and pull out the related expenses and set them aside. Don't forget 1095-A if you purchased health insurance through the Marketplace.
Check Everything Off Your List: Print out a tax prep checklist and go through everything to make sure you've got it all, then fill in any last-minute gaps. If your preparer doesn't provide you with a checklist in advance, there are many online. Here's one from H&R Block.
Shred All The Rest: Destroy any non-tax documents that contain personal information, such as account or Social Security numbers, name, address, date of birth, etc., to help protect yourself against identify theft. Remember, don't shred your pertinent tax records for seven years, in case of an audit.
Get Set Up for Next Year: If you don't have a filing system for next year's bills and receipts, now's a good time to get that going.
On Monday, keep up the momentum and drop everything off at the CPA's office. Think of how good it will feel to be done done done for another year!
Remember, as with all of our Weekend Projects, just do what you have the time and energy to do. This is a marathon, not a sprint!
- Help motivate others by letting the rest of us know how things are going! Share your tips and photos of your Weekend Project work on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #ATweekendproject.
- Check out 2017's entire Plan for a Healthy & Happy Home to access all Weekend Project ideas, so you can pick and choose what to do this weekend.
- Download our March Home Checklist. It's a free, downloadable, low-pressure list of things to try this month if you want to keep your life and home running like a well-oiled machine. Pick and choose what and how much you want to tackle, and have the satisfaction of crossing them off the list!