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Planning ahead can help make tax filing season go smoothly

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With tax season just around the corner, experts want to make sure you're prepared.

"You need the actual numbers from the documents you know your W-2," said Jim Temmer, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.

That means all your tax documents for all streams of income, whether that's one or multiple.

"You'll definitely want to have documents that reflect your income, there are documents that come over a wide period of time but just to keep in mind what sources of income you had in the last year, and what kind of deductible expenses you think you could be expecting forms for," said Sara Hall, 2-1-1 Hotline Coordinator for the United Way of Marathon County.

When it comes to actually filing those taxes, there are a couple different avenues you can take.

If you choose to hire someone to file for you, make sure you're choosing the person who is the right fit for you.

"There's all these different types of people you can hire, look at your situation and what is it that you need, do you need someone with the credentials, a CPA, a tax attorney," said Temmer.

He said to be wary of people who make big promises, like getting a large return.

"Real good tax preparers don't tell you they're gonna maximize your return, they say they're gonna file it on time, look for everything they can and be honest."

And be sure to ask for any and all fees up front.

"Sometimes they'll say it's a certain fee and if they find out that well you're e filing or it's this or it's that they'll charge you extra so really have a conversation about what your needs are and what you're gonna pay." said Temmer.

There are free tax filing services offered as well through the AARP and through the IRS, as well as user friendly self-filing services.

Those services can all be reached by dialing the 2-1-1 hotline.

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