1.) Get your documents ready before starting.
Before you begin your tax return, gather all the important documents. Make sure you have a copy of your tax return from last year and the personal information for your spouse and dependents you want to claim.
By the end of January or early February, you should receive all your tax documents like forms W-2, 1099, and 1098. Organize them by form number, grouping similar forms together. You can also organize them in the order you'll enter them in your return.
If you have a business, farm, or rental activity, consider using financial software to organize your income and expenses into simple statements. Print relevant reports from the software to have them handy.
Keep a record of how you came up with figures for your return when you don't have clear records. Create a list, worksheet, or spreadsheet with notes explaining how you calculated estimated numbers. For example, note how you valued noncash charitable donations or determined the value of inherited real estate. If you use your vehicle for business purposes, figure out your total business and personal miles separately.