If you are married, and you have decided that you want to file your taxes together, you need to work together to make sure that you get your taxes done on time. Here are a few tricks for getting your taxes done on time together as a couple.
Collect Your W2 Forms
The most important forms when doing your taxes are the forms for your jobs. If you both work for employers, your W2 forms should have been mailed to your home in early February. If you have not received your W2 forms yet, you need to contact your employer to see what happened to them.
Collect Health Care Documentation
You still need to show that you had health care coverage on your taxes this year. Your health care provider should have sent you a form that states that you had health care coverage, as well as how much coverage you have. You need this to avoid a fine. If you had to pay for your own health care coverage, you may even be able to deduct that expense from your taxes.
You also need to figure out how much money you spent on medical expenses last year. Medical expenses include things such as the cost for prescription glasses and drugs, weight-loss programs, co-pays and deductibles for doctor's visits and hospital stays.
If all of your medical expenses equals or exceeds 10% of your income, you can claim those expenses and deduct them from your taxes.
An IRA is a great way to save money for retirement. In general, you have to work in order to contribute money to an IRA. You can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA. When you are married though, if one of you doesn't work, you can still create and contribute to an IRA, up to the limit of $5,500. Any money that you contribute to a traditional Roth IRA are deductible from your taxes. So even if one of you stays at home, you can still contribute money towards a retirement amount and reap the benefits on your joint income tax return.
Finally, you need to gather together paperwork on any investments that you have. You may need to claim either capital gains or losses on your investments. If you have investments such as rental property, you will need to claim the income that you get from these investments.
The key to doing taxes as a couple is to have an area set up where you can both put all relevant tax documents, receipts, and information, so when you sit down to do your taxes, you have all the information easily together and collected. Remember, a financial planning professional is a great resource for making sure that you are doing your taxes together correctly and getting all the right benefits.