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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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.