Core+ Tax Strategies is Now Plains Tax Strategies – Same Experienced Team!


It’s that time of year again: Tax season. You’ve just received a W-2 form from your employer. Here’s a step-by-step guide for what to do next—and how to get the most out of your refund. 

Filing Your Tax Return – Step 1: Gather all documents and paperwork. 

In addition to your W-2, you’ll need to have the following information available:

  1. Documentation from other forms of income, which include: A) 1099 forms from freelance/contract work; B) W-2s from additional employers; and C) income from retirement or pension 
  2. Proof of health insurance coverage
  3. Documentation needed to claim certain credits and deductions (keep reading to learn more)
  4. Social security number, address, and bank account information (routing and account numbers for direct deposit

Filing Your Tax Return – Step 2: Take advantage of credits and deductions. 

To get the most out of your IRS tax return, check to see if you qualify for certain credits. You may be eligible to claim credits if:

  1. You’re paying for higher education
  2. You’re a parent or caretaker
  3. You’re putting money into retirement or savings
  4. You’ve made energy-efficient upgrades to your home, or you have an electric vehicle 

Deductions on expenses can include:

  1. Business use of vehicle
  2. Business use of your home
  3. Teacher/educator expenses
  4. Student loan interest
  5. Money put into an IRA 

Itemized deductible expenses might include donations to charity, home mortgage interest, financial losses, and property taxes

Filing Your Tax Return – Step 3: File your return by the IRS deadline.

For simple returns, using an online software program will work just fine. 

However, sometimes the process isn’t always so straightforward. For those with multiple income streams, various potential credits/deductions, or those who have experienced major life events (like getting married/divorced, buying/selling a house, or receiving an inheritance), the process of filing becomes more complex.

If this is the case, it might be advantageous to consult with a tax professional to save time—not to mention offer peace of mind.