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Tips for tax season
February 12, 2020

Tax Season: Tips and 2019 Tax Year Updates

Maybe you’ve been eagerly awaiting your W-2, ready to jump in right away. (We see you—get that refund!) Or, maybe you don’t plan to think about taxes until April. Whatever your style, taxes are inevitable. Since we all pay Uncle Sam his due, we’ve put together some important tips to help you tackle tax season worry-free.

Understand the changes for the 2019 tax year.1

Each tax year typically brings at least a few changes, and this year was no exception. A few highlights of the changes for the 2019 tax year include:

  • The Income Tax brackets notched up a bit to account for inflation.
  • If you take the standard deduction, like most tax filers, you’ll see an increase this year. The new deduction is $12,200 for single filers and $24,400 if married filing jointly.
  • Penalty for being without health insurance? Not for 2019. There is no penalty for lacking health insurance coverage, at least at the federal level. A few state-level penalties are still in effect. (Neither Florida nor South Carolina have a state-level penalty. Please check your state and local tax laws, if residing in any other state.)

We recommend you review the IRS tax guidelines to read about all changes for the 2019 tax year that may affect you, since this is not a comprehensive list of all changes. Find the latest tax information.

Stay organized (throughout the year, too!)

Gather all the documents and information you need ahead of time to make your filing experience easier—whether that’s a single W-2 or a stack of 1099s plus various documents from investments, mortgage payments, student loan interest or health expenses. No matter what, keep everything you need in one place, such as an accordion folder with labels or a filing cabinet. Don’t procrastinate organizing items such as receipts or proof of charitable contributions. In fact, make a habit of labeling receipts throughout the year and storing them together to save yourself time when filing. If you prefer digital means of storage, consider investing in secure digital storage and a receipt scanner, which can be especially useful for itemizing deductions.

File as soon as you can.

If at all possible, file as soon as you’re ready. Here are four primary reasons to file early:

  1. You reduce your risk of tax refund fraud. There’s no way to protect your identity 100% from all forms of risk, but as fraud is on the rise, it’s best to take any measure you can to safeguard yourself, including filing early.
  2. You eliminate deadline stress. Especially if you dread doing your taxes, it’s best to get them done early.
  3. You’re more likely to get a hold of your tax professional (and enjoy a quicker turnaround time). Tax pros are understandably in high demand as deadlines approach, so get squared away as soon as you can, if you utilize tax preparation services.
  4. If you discover you have a tax bill, filing early gives you more time to plan and get funds together.

Know if you qualify to file for free. (And decide what’s best for your situation.)

Typically, you can expect to file free of charge if your income is below $69,000 annually, but you are still responsible for reading through the available offers and understanding the terms. To learn more, visit the IRS Free File page for information about filing for free and to find IRS Free File online products.1

When in doubt, consult a tax professional.

If your tax situation is complicated—or if you just want certainty that you’re crossing all your t’s and dotting all your i’s—consider utilizing tax preparation services. Consulting the pros can make your life easier, whether you choose a local CPA or a tax preparation company. Did you know that Grow members may qualify for a discount on TurboTax®?2

1For specific tax advice, please consult a qualified tax professional.
2TurboTax® is not an affiliate of Grow Financial. See TurboTax product guarantees: http://turbotax.intuit.com/lp/yoy/guarantees.jsp © 2014-2015 Intuit Inc. All rights reserved. Intuit, TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties’ trademarks or service marks are the property of their respective owners.


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