1. The first thing you should do is put together a list of social security numbers. You will need to include everyone’s number who will be on your tax return. If your child is 12 years old or older and does not have a social security number, you must apply for one.
2. Next, you will need to gather the documents that show the income you earned in 2012. This can include: a W-2 from your employer, a 1099-MISC if you made more than $600 from anyone for freelance work, a 1099-G if you collected unemployment, the interest on any savings accounts you have, etc.
3. You also need to locate your 2011 tax return. This can be very helpful when filing your 2012 tax return, unless your life has drastically changed. If you cannot find your tax return from last year, you can order a copy at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Order-a-Transcript.
4. Another step you can take to get ahead on your taxes is to figure out the deductions you can claim. There are many possibilities with tax deductions, therefore you should educate yourself and get your paperwork together, early. You will need documentation to prove any deductions you claim. Visit http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc500.html to learn about deductions.
5. If you contributed to a charitable organization in 2012, you can deduct your donation from your taxes. The donation can be in the form of cash, property or stock and must have been to an organization, not a person or political campaign. Visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Eight-Tips-for-Deducting-Charitable-Contributions to learn about charitable deductions.
6. Finally, you should plan your actual refund. The fastest way to get your refund is to file electronically and use direct deposit.
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