You may be tempted to forget all about your taxes once you’ve filed your tax return. But don’t give in to temptation. If you start your tax planning now, you may avoid a tax surprise when you file next year. Now is a good time to set up a system so you can keep your tax records safe and easy to find. Here are some IRS tips to help you get ready for next year’s taxes:
- Take action when life changes occur — Certain life events can change the amount of tax you pay. Some examples are a change in marital status or the birth of a child. When events happen, you may need to change the amount of tax withheld from your pay. To do that, file a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov to help you fill out the form.
- Report changes in circumstances to the Health Insurance Marketplace — If you bought 2015 insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should report changes in circumstances to the Marketplace when they happen. Reporting changes in your income or family size will help you avoid getting too much or too little advance payment of the premium tax credit. Receiving too much or too little in advance can affect your refund, or you may owe tax when you file.
- Keep records safe — Put your 2014 tax return and supporting records in a safe place. If you ever need your tax return or records, it will be easy for you to get them. For example, you may need a copy of your tax return if you apply for a home loan or financial aid. You should use your tax return as a guide when you do your taxes next year.
- Stay organized — Make tax time easier. Have your family put tax records in the same place throughout the year. That way, you won’t have to search for misplaced records when you file next year.
- Shop for a tax preparer — If you want to hire a tax preparer to help you with tax planning, start your search now. Choose your tax preparer wisely. Use the Directory of Tax Return Preparers tool on IRS.gov to find tax preparers in your area with the credentials and qualifications that you prefer.
- Think about itemizing — If you claim a standard deduction on your tax return, you may be able to lower your taxes if you itemize deductions instead. A donation to charity could mean some tax savings. See the instructions for Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, for a list of deductions.
- Stay informed — Subscribe to IRS Tax Tips to get emails about tax law changes, how to save money and much more. You can also get Tax Tips on IRS.gov or IRS2Go, the IRS mobile app. You’ll receive tips each weekday in the tax filing season and three days a week in the summer. You will also get Special Edition Tax Tips at other times during the year.
Remember, planning now can pay off with savings at tax time next year.