Perhaps you’ve heard that all you need to file your taxes is your last pay stub…not true. If you’re expecting a large refund it can be hard to wait for that W-2 to arrive in the mail, but it’s important to do so. Any place that would do your taxes without your W-2 in hand may be making costly mistakes on your behalf.
Not only do you need to wait for all your W-2s before going in to the nearest free tax preparation site, you need to make sure you have other applicable tax forms: interest statements, retirement forms (1099s), tuition forms (1098-T), and mortgage interest statements (Form 1098). Other forms that you may still be missing–but could give you even more back–include student loan interest paid (1098-E), child care expenses paid (statement will include the tax ID number of the child care provider), and proof of charitable giving.
If you live in North Carolina, charitable giving in 2010 can get you more money back on your state return, even if you don’t itemize. For more information, talk to your local free tax preparer.
Most of these forms have to be mailed by January 31st, but may take additional time to get to you, especially if you have moved in the last year. If you have not received them by February 15th, than it is time to take action. It is important to wait until you have all appropriate tax forms before filing your taxes, or you could have to repay back some of your refund. This is especially true for families who make less than $49,000 as they may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
For those who have already started receiving their tax forms, our free tax preparation sites will start opening as early as January 17th!