How to File Taxes: Your Tax Preparation Timeline

Don’t let the April 15 tax deadline creep up on you. Use this tax-time checklist to keep your paperwork in order and avoid a last-minute time crunch.

  • Year-round: Keep all receipts related to tax deductions, credits, and exemptions in one designated folder, spreadsheet, or software program. Make a new folder or document for each year. Note upcoming tax deadlines on your calendar.
  • January: As various tax forms arrive, add them to your designated folder. Consider whether you should calculate your taxes manually, use an online tax prep service, or book an appointment with a tax professional. If you need to meet with a CPA or other tax professional, book an appointment sooner rather than later.
  • Early February: Make sure you have correct versions of all W-2, 1099, and 1098 forms, and request corrected and/or additional forms as appropriate.
  • March: Manually calculate your taxes by downloading the proper tax form(s), calculate them via an online tax prep service, or meet with a tax professional.
  • April: File both your federal and state (if applicable) income taxes by April 15.

Filing taxes can be a confusing experience for first-time filers. Learn how to file taxes for the first time in this article from Regions.


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