Tax Turmoil? Take Ten

All across the country, this is the month people train and test or retrain and retest to become certified as volunteer income tax preparers. We work very hard. We don’t get paid, and we don’t accept tips. We do accept thanks.

You will make our lives easier and get your taxes done more smoothly if you  take ten minutes to collect every relevant document before you head for a tax preparation site. Bring all your W-2, 1099s, 1098-Ts, interest and dividend statements, and the rest. Bring the receipts from home improvements that could give you an energy credit. Bring the sale contract for a new car you bought after February 16, 2009 so you can claim a deduction for the sales tax. Bring a record of your real estate taxes paid, and receipts from charitable donations. Bring your checkbook and the registers covering 2009, since they often contain records of deductible expenses and you’ll need your bank information, including routing number, for a direct deposit refund. Bring last year’s tax return because often some figures are needed from it.

Most of all, bring a good attitude. We are not the IRS. We’re working long hours in public libraries, hospitals, senior centers, fire stations, and other venues all across the country–to help you, our fellow taxpayers.  Let’s make it a good tax season. And remember, if you don’t like taxes (and who does?), in this free country you can lobby with state and Federal representatives to get changes made.

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