It’s that time of year again! When your mailbox is stuffed with official-looking forms of all kinds, and the countdown toward April 15th starts ticking. Yeah, that’s right … it’s tax time! The good news is, tax prep doesn’t need to be confusing or stressful. Here are our top 10 do’s and don’ts to help make tax season this year smooth and efficient.

Do: File early. The earlier you file, the less chance you’ll have of getting caught in a tax-preparer scam or having your refund stolen. Plus, you’ll be less likely to make mistakes when you’re not under pressure to file before a looming deadline.

Don’t: Calculate your numbers too quickly. It’s worthwhile to take your time when determining your numbers to ensure you haven’t made any mistakes. This includes calculations, as well as Social Security and Tax Identification numbers (TIN). Work carefully and review twice for accuracy.

Do: Keep things organized. You can designate a paper folder to hold all your tax documents as they arrive or scan each document and upload it to a folder on your computer.

Don’t: Share your tax information with unverified contacts. Scams are rampant during tax season. Guard your information carefully and never share sensitive data online or by phone with an unverified contact.

Do: Consider filing electronically. Filing your tax return electronically can help ensure it’s processed quickly and accurately. The IRS e-file is available to all taxpayers, and many can file electronically at no cost. Get started here.

Don’t: Use last year’s numbers. The U.S. Tax Code is ever-evolving, and it’s up to you, as a taxpayer, to stay current on these changes. You can read about the latest tax code changes here. In addition, your own financials have likely changed, and you need to ensure you are using your most recent numbers.

Do: Deduct eligible medical expenses. Deductible medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) to be claimed as an itemized deduction for 2023. If you’re self-employed, you may be able to deduct 100% of your premium cost.

Don’t: Forget about extra income. Sure, you filed the W-2 from your employer, but did you remember the 1099s from your side hustles? Be sure to give the IRS the full picture of your income.

Do: Deduct charitable donations. For 2023, you can deduct up to 60% of your AGI for contributions of cash to qualified charitable organizations.

Don’t: Forget to sign your tax form. Before you file your form, make one last review and make sure you’ve remembered to sign it. An unsigned form can delay the processing of your return and a possible refund.

Tax season is here, but there’s no reason to stress! Use this list of do’s and don’ts to make your tax prep easy this year!

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