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Busy season has begun again and I already feel myself getting backed up.  I don’t expect I’ll be posting very much over the next few months as I work on returns seven days a week with a lot of late nights and the occasional early morning when I happen to wake up before the rest of the family does.

I do hope to make at least one more post before my work gets heavily backlogged, but let me repeat some advice from last season.  If you have all or most of your tax records now and are ready to start having your annual return prepared, now – and I mean right now – is the time to get these records to your tax professional.  Chances are that he or she will be able to prepare it in a very short time and get it filed quickly, because few of their clients have all the necessary records ready for them. If you’re receiving a refund, you’ll be receiving that much sooner and if you owe money, you’ll have a substantial amount of time to get to the money together to pay it by the April 18, 2017 deadline.  If you have most, but not all, of your tax records available to you, submitting them to your tax professional is also a good idea, because when you get the rest of them, your return will also likely get prepared much faster, as your tax professional will probably have already entered what you sent to them earlier.  Furthermore, the sooner you get your tax return done, the sooner you can start planning for next year’s tax return and make whatever adjustments you need to get a more pleasing result when you file your 2017 tax return.  Whether it means putting more in your 401(k) plan, increasing deposits to your health savings account, making higher estimated payments, changing your withholding so you don’t have the “sticker shock” of owing a large amount when it’s time to file, or getting a planned giving arrangement set up to take the highest possible advantage of the charitable deduction, the earlier in the year you do it, the better the benefit to you.