Why You Should Start Preparing for Tax Season Now

Written by |

While it may seem a little premature, now is the perfect time to prepare for tax season. Employers typically start to send W-2s in January, so December is a great month to start thinking about your taxes.

This article will show you some ways to get set for the upcoming tax season.

4 Easy Ways To Prep for the Tax Season

We’ll expand on some tips from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as get some pointers from money expert Clark Howard.

1. Adjust Your Expectations

If you are expecting a big tax refund next year, you may need to manage your expectations. The IRS says “refunds may be smaller in 2023.” This is because there are no Economic Impact Payments for 2022. They also mention that some returns may be delayed due to needing further review.

Regardless, while you may be expecting a return or find yourself disappointed if you don’t get one, Clark says it’s better if you don’t, and here’s why: 

“I’d prefer that you get no refund at all. If you are getting one, it means that you’ve made an interest-free loan to the government and your money has been working for them — not you — all year long.”

2. Gather Your Records

Don’t wait until tax season to start gathering your tax documentation. Instead, take the time to make sure your mailing address is correct with your job, bank and other financial institutions so you receive all of your tax documents in a timely manner. Once you get your year-end tax documents, carefully review them for accuracy. If you spot any errors, promptly contact the relevant parties to notify them to make any corrections.

No matter if you use an electronic or a paper record-keeping system, make sure you’re keeping at least the last three years of your tax returns and supporting documents, which is what the IRS advises.

Clark says he keeps his tax returns twice as long just in case any problems arise.

“The IRS has three years to go after you on your tax return and requires backup proof of everything you’ve claimed, he adds. “They’ve got six years to go after you and say, ‘Hey you’ve underreported this terribly.’”

3. Get a Jump on Your Tax Withholding Status

If you think you may need to adjust your tax withholding status, the ideal time to do so is early in the year.


The IRS has a Tax Withholding Estimator that makes it easy to see the tax implications of any adjustments you choose to make.

“You can also consider additional tax payments, or submit a new W-4 form to your employer to avoid an unexpected tax bill when they file,” says the IRS.

4. Decide How You’re Going To File

Should you hire an accountant or do your taxes yourself? Luckily, there’s no wrong answer. It’s ultimately up to you.

Free File

Do you feel comfortable filing your taxes yourself? You likely can file electronically for free with IRS Free File. The IRS Free File program features brand-name tax preparation software packages that may be able to find deductions, credits and exemptions.

The IRS says that some Free File packages offer free state tax return preparation. 

There are also several free and cheap tax preparation software options if you don’t qualify for IRS Free File.

Hire a Tax Preparer

If you want to hire someone to do your taxes, you may be able to find a tax professional on IRS.gov’s Choosing a Tax Professional page. You can also read about tax preparers in your area in the agency’s Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.

Final Thoughts

While it would be a stretch to say that getting a jump on your taxes will make it fun, adequate preparation can definitely reduce the hassle and more importantly, the stress.

“When filers have all their tax documentation gathered and organized, they’re in the best position to file an accurate return and avoid processing or refund delays or receiving IRS letters,” the IRS says.

The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov is a good resource if you have general tax questions. You can also call Team Clark’s free Consumer Action Center at 636-492-5275.

Welcome bonuses can be a great way to boost the value of a credit card. Best Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses for 2023 - If you're in the market for a new credit card in 2023, you may be hoping to cash in on the hundreds of dollars in sign-up bonuses offered to new customers. Welcome bonuses and offers are a marketing tool that…
The best cell phone plans include Tello, Mint Mobile, Visible, T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular and more Best Cell Phone Plans in 2023: The Cheapest Plan for Every Need - Team Clark ranks the best cell phone plans and deals! See our favorites for unlimited data, families and cheap plans starting at $10/month.