How to get ready for tax season

Make a list of major life changes

Getting married, having a baby, buying a house, or a death in the family this year means that your tax situation is probably going to change. Make sure you fully understand how these events are going to affect you now to offset any tax increases that you may experience.

Make a tax folder

Shortly after the first of year all of your tax documents are going to start rolling in. When they do put them all into one place. Even before those W-2s or 1099s show up, gather up all of the receipts from your tax-deductible expenses and donations.

Decide if you are going to go it alone

If you are going to file for yourself, the best time to get a deal on the updated tax software is right after the first of the year. The longer you wait, they more expensive it could be, so make sure you aren’t missing out. If you are going to use an accountant, you should be scheduling an appointment now.

Know how to file for an extension

Sometimes it can be difficult to find all the right documents before the deadline (which in 2017 is going to be April 18th). All you need to do to receive an extension is fill out and submit Form 4868, though the IRS will not be ready to process these forms until March at the earliest.

Educate yourself

Last year a NerdWallet survey found that the average American scores a 51% on personal finance questions related to US federal income tax returns. Most of the questions missed had to do with how retirement accounts, college saving and health care can affect your tax return. Take some time to fully understand all these factors so you can be sure to get your largest return in 2017.