What should I do first to start filing my taxes?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,579
    Tax Director Art Auerbach discusses what to do first to start filing taxes.

    Host: What should I do first to start filing my taxes?

    Aurthur Auerbach: We have covered some of this already. Organization of your material for the year in question is obviously, the first big piece. Having a copy of a prior year tax return is also a good indicator. If you have moved, get the information from the state that you are now living in. For example, if you have relocated from California to Virginia or Virginia to Texas you want to get whatever the local information is in front of you before you get started, not half way in between. Then you have all your paper work done; bring whatever methodology you are going to use. Now if you have used the paid preparer in the past, you probably have an organizer book or some book with that they have sent you where you fill in this year's information and insert certain things into the booklet and that's what you are going to return to your paper prepare. If you are doing this by yourself and you are going on the program, one of the things I would recommend to get started is just go through the program without entering the information.

    Get an idea of the questions that they are going to ask you or basically, it's not a 'They' it's the computer is going to ask you so I guess, the better representation here what it is going to ask you to fill out so then you can put your papers in order when you are actually going to be entering numbers and not have to stop on the screen, fumble around with papers. I don't know what screensavers or saver programs you have. Most professionals -- we save things automatically every five minutes so in the event that there is a power bounce or the cat walks across the keyboard that we don't lose whatever it is that we had going. But those are important steps in getting yourself started to do this and then the emphasis and I can emphasis this enough is just have patience.

    There are many, many folks out there who didn't like math class, didn't sit in math very comfortably, don't have the capability of adding, subtracting in your head, just have patience. Trust the machine, use the calculator feature that's in the program if you have to add numbers together. Don't do it by row in your head. If they have a list save function in the program and you are saving or adding five or six numbers together, make your list, use the list function, say charity A this amount, charity B this amount and that will produce a total for the tax return, but you have a record of you got to the number on the tax return.

    So those are the important things to remember to get started.