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Get ready for tax season

These tips will help get your affairs in order

POSTED: January 9, 2009 2:20 p.m.
The holidays have passed, the new year has begun, and tax season is right around the corner. The earlier taxpayers prepare for the April 15 deadline, the easier it will be to file taxes. Here are some helpful hints for tax season preparation:
• Make sure your information matches the IRS’s. Soon taxpayers will receive W-2 forms from employers and other tax information from the IRS. Carefully check your name, Social Security number and all of the data on your W-2s and on your Social Security statement or card to make sure they match up. If you can’t find your card or statement but know your Social Security number, make sure the number and information is correct on your W-2s. A mismatch could delay your tax refund and cause problems with your Social Security benefits in the future. Such errors are easy to fix now.
• A name change is the main change. If you’ve legally changed your name due to marriage, divorce, court order or for any other reason, make sure you change your name with Social Security by applying for a new Social Security card. Make sure you change your name with your employer as well. If you change with one source but not the other, it could cause your earnings to be improperly recorded. A minor detail could cause a major mix-up. You can learn more about Social Security numbers and cards at
• Don’t forget the kids. If you are the parent of a newborn, you want to make sure that the newest family member has a Social Security number, too. Most people apply for their baby’s Social Security card while they’re still in the hospital at the same time they apply for the birth certificate. But if you didn’t, you’ll need to apply for your child’s Social Security number in order to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return.  You’ll also need it if you ever apply for government benefits on behalf of the child or your family.
• Go online if you can’t find your 1099. Social Security benefit statements (form SSA-1099) for tax year 2008 are automatically mailed to beneficiaries and should be received by Jan. 31. If you receive Social Security and haven’t received your 1099 in the mail by the end of January, but need it to file a tax return, just go online. Beginning in February, you can request a replacement 1099 online at
For more information about Social Security, visit
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