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Over the next few days, many will be working to gather paperwork to complete their 2019 taxes. While the tax deadline was extended (this year, until July 15th), that filing deadline always seems to sneak up quickly, no matter when it is.
As we near the tax season finish line, consider these tips to help you save on your taxes and file on time.
Keep your forms in one place
Nothing is worse than not having a form when you need it—so make sure to gather them in one place as they come in. You’ll need to save all your income documents: W-2s, 1099's, Retirement Income, Investment Income, Unemployment, Self-Employment receipts, and paperwork for tax-deductible expenses. You’ll also need tax supporting forms that report student loan interest, education expenses for colleges, and mortgage interest, if you've had any of these expenses.
If you’re self-employed, make sure you have your 1099-Misc or 1099-K forms. Also, remember if you are self-employed you may not necessarily receive a form 1099-Misc or 1099-K, but you’ll still need to claim all your income. Don't forget, you can also claim your business expenses which will lower your taxable income.
Pick a time and place
When it’s time to actually prepare your taxes, pick a time and space that allows you to be thoughtful and take your time. Rushing in your tax return might leave tax deductions on the table you may be eligible for or might lead you to enter incorrect information.
Check your numbers
Make sure to verify dependents' birth dates and social security numbers. This basic information is required to claim valuable deductions and credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), or the new credit for other dependents.
Take advantage of all tax deductions
Several above-the-line deductions are frequently overlooked and can lower your taxable income. Self-employed individuals should take advantage of Self-Employed Health Insurance tax deduction (SEHI), while other deductions include student loan interest deduction, teacher’s educator deduction for school supplies (for purchases up to $250), and deductible portion of your IRA contributions.
Itemize deductions might be available for you
TurboTax, online tax preparation software (and sponsor of this article), estimates and the IRS data confirmed that about 90 percent of taxpayers will now take the standard deduction over itemizing due to tax reform. Still, gathering a few additional receipts for tax-deductible expenses may push you over the standard deduction and lower your tax liability. Review these items for a potential tax benefit:
- Previous state tax liability paid
- Charitable contributions (the TurboTax app, ItsDeductible, will help you track and accurately value your donations)
- Points paid to purchase a new home or refinance an existing home
Don’t be an unclaimer
Even if you’re below the IRS filing threshold ($12,200 for singles and $24,400 for married filing jointly), you should still file a return—especially if federal taxes were withheld and if you’re eligible for a refundable tax credit, like the Earned Income Tax Credit. The IRS reports about $1 billion in unclaimed refunds, averaging close to $800 per return.
Get the help you need from the comfort of your own home
If you have tax questions you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent with an average 15 years’ experience and get your questions answered from the comfort of home . TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in Spanish and English and can review, sign, and file your return.
Start filing your taxes today! By preparing your taxes online, you can save time and money and still get the help you need to file with total confidence. Plus, if you have a simple return, you can file federal and state returns for free with TurboTax Free Edition. Click here to learn more.