Embrace the March Call to Action (You Could Win $100!)

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march call to action_taxesIt’s nearly here!

No, not spring. Tax season.

In the coming weeks, we’ll answer many questions that you may have about filing—from what kind of expenses freelancers can deduct to the tax benefits of domestic partnerships.

So in the spirit of kicking off tax prep season, our March Call to Action is two-fold: Tell us your very best tip for getting ahead on your taxes—and how much it has saved you.

Share your tax savings tip in the comments below, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win $100! And be sure to use your email address when you comment—it won’t be visible to other users—so we can notify you should you win.

Open only to legal residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years old as of the date of entry. Premium users are not eligible. Contest running from March 3, 2014 through March 21, 2014. We will select the most compelling entry as the winner, and his or her story may be published on the site.

LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc. that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. Unless specifically identified as such, the people interviewed in this piece are neither clients, employees nor affiliates of LearnVest Planning Services. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.

  • Melia

    American Express sent me a “Spend Analysis” ahead of tax season with all my purchases that year categorized. It helped me remember things I could write off (like business expenses and professional development courses). I ran a similar analysis on my other credit cards. From the analysis, I better arranged my Learnvest budget folders! Also, I got mugged right before Thanksgiving and learned that you can write off all those items (if you have a police report). That helped soften the blow of losing my favorite Betsey Johnson purse!

  • Danielle

    Hello!

    I always keep folders(gas, food, car expenses etc…) for everything I spend and for every charity I give to on my computer and I keep a hard copy as well. This way it is not going to take me a long time at the end of the year to organize everything because I have been organizing as I go.

  • Renice

    To get organized for my taxes I create a list of all the forms and paperwork that I need to file my taxes. Each time a form comes in the mail I mark it off of my list, that way nothing gets forgotten or missed.
    As I get each document I place into a folder so, that I can just grab the folder and head down to the my tax professional. I also like to compare to see what I will be getting back or if I owe. I do this to avoid surprises. This year I used Turbotax and H&RBlock.

  • Kim Blank

    I keep a GoogleDoc with tabs for all of my donations and other tax-related expenses (ie. job search, healthcare, education, etc.) throughout the year. I also scan any relevant documents into GoogleDrive so I can do my taxes as soon as I have my electronic w2– whether that’s in the office, at home, or on the road. Otherwise, I might be missing a form or could misplace something throughout the year.

  • Devin R.

    Always check your tax deductions with HR prior to tax season. Often times, people end up paying the government vs receiving a check because they want more money up front. This way, you may “lose” $50/paycheck (which hurts a bit, I know!), but you get that back in your tax return AND you don’t end up owing anything or–even worse—getting audited. My mother gave me this advice and I barely notice the deduction during the year but you’d better believe I notice it when I get that nice chunk of change!

  • Brockb86

    I make sure to use tax exempt accounts and do my medical Fsa and also 401k to lower my tax burden and keep up with all medical expenses!

  • RL McGruder

    I put all of my receipts in one place, then about every three months I go through and organize them. (I’m not the type of person who can do it religiously every day.) This way, I’m ahead at the end of the year, and i can see clearly where the bulk of my spending is going and make adjustments.

  • Bronwyn Merritt

    I save the most money by using my expense worksheet that my accountant provides as part of my business planning. For instance, if I see that I spent $2400 on cell phone services, I don’t just put it on the line and forget about it. Each year I look at my income (I am self-employed) and my expenses such as advertising and marketing, and make sure the investments are paying off. That tax worksheet has helped me reduce office expenses, phone and internet service costs and advertising by showing me what I am spending year-to-year. The best savings is keeping more of the money I earn!

  • AZ

    Itemize deductions, keep a list of everything you need to submit to the IRS(w-2 forms, tax deductions, etc) and keep all your paperwork organized and in one place, like a folder, so you know where everything is.

  • Becca Alley

    I keep a spreadsheet with know decoction on them that way when it comes up through the year I just write it in.
    Not only does save me money – but time which is worth a lot!

  • Kfowl1

    Getting ahead: I spent Jan 1 completing a final organization of all tax related documents so that I know exactly which information to expect in the mail in the coming weeks!
    Saving money: I run a small business in addition to my full time job and decided to invest in a tax accountant. He is always available to ask questions, and best of all, ensures that all of my deductions are maximized based on my financial situation!

  • Mario Capone

    I look for tips on different websites & make sure I used them!

  • daynalynndavis

    Stay organized and file as early as possible! I keep any important documents like proof of charitable organizations, student loan interest statements and other tax-related forms in a folder throughout the year. Once I get my W-2s and my statements from student loans, etc., I file right away. This way I’ve got a few months to budget how to pay any taxes owed OR I have the money early and can apply it to my other financial goals. I’d rather not be stressed out about taxes, so I do everything early to get it over with. The best part about doing my taxes early is I can relax in March and April when everyone else is freaking out about getting their taxes done :-)

  • Christmas

    If you’re using tax software (such as turbotax) to prepare your taxes
    yourself, go through every question every year. This way you won’t miss a
    deduction or credit you qualify for this year that you may not have
    qualified for in the past (or missed in the past!).