When a Savvy Miss member asked the following question, we turned to Eric Gashin, CPA, for his expert opinion.

I'm suffering from a tax-day hangover. Filing my taxes this year was so complicated and confusing. What should I do from here on out to organize myself so that I don't have a repeat of this year’s disaster in 2007?

The dread many people feel when filing their taxes is often the result of waiting until the last minute to pull together all the necessary documentation needed to file a return. Therefore, it’s best to start preparing at the start of the tax year. By keeping your tax information organized from the get-go, you will be able to produce the records and the facts with ease when it is time to file your tax return.

Here are some examples of documents needed to report your income:

  • Form W-2—Employee wages earned during the year;
  • Form 1099INT and Form 1099DIV—Interest and dividend income earned during the year;
  • Form 1099B—Selling price of a capital gain transaction (You are required to report the gain or loss on the sale of the investment, so the purchase price must also be reported. This information isn’t always easy to find and often requires research prior to filing your taxes);
  • Form K-1—Share of income report for ownership in a partnership, trust, S Corporation and/or estate.

Keep in mind: The records listed above represent income from various sources and should always be mailed to you by January 31 (except for the K-1). If these forms don’t arrive shortly after the deadline, inquire about them as soon as possible. It is better to address any issues sooner rather than later, because not much can be done if there is missing information right before the deadline.