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Early preparation is the key to a stress free (or at least reduced stress) tax season.
Getting ready to prepare your taxes does not have to be frightening or difficult.

Remember, the earlier you file your taxes the faster you get your refund. Tax day
2007 is on April 17 this year, so avoid the rush and file early. To do so, keep in
mind these seven steps:

1.)  Gather your records in advance. Make sure you have all the records you need, including W-2s and 1099s. Be sure to save a copy for your files. And remember, the IRS gets copies of these forms, so make sure your numbers match!

2.)  Get the right IRS forms. Forms are available around the clock on the IRS Web site. Just click on this link to find and download the Forms and Publications you need.

3.)  Take your time. Avoid waiting until the last minute. Preparing your returns while in a rush can lead to mistakes, which opens you up for those dreaded red audit flags. Remember to allow time for a coffee break when filling out your tax return to reduce stress and increase efficiency.

4.)  Double-check your math and verify all Social Security numbers. Mistakes here are among the most common errors found on tax returns. Taking care will reduce your chance of hearing from the IRS and speed up your refund. Make sure you get the correct Social Security numbers for everyone you are claiming on your return before you start preparing the return and double check your numbers.

5.)  How to get the fastest refund. File early; you will receive your refund faster. For fastest service, choose receiving it by direct deposit. You'll receive your refund sooner than waiting for a check.

6.)  E-filing is easy. E-filing catches math problems, provides confirmation that your return has been received and gives you a faster refund. Use this link to find an E-filing source.

7.)  Don't panic. If you have a problem or a question, remember the IRS is there to help. Try the IRS Web site at or call the IRS customer service number at 1-800-829-1040. If you have a complex return, contact an accountant. In addition, many community centers offer free help for those who
need it.
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