SAN ANTONIO – The year 2016 may be just about over, but people still have time to do a few things that could help cut this year’s tax bill.
"It comes and it sneaks up on you very quickly. This is the time to really gather your stuff instead of waiting until the last minute,” said Alejandra Sanchez, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program director at Catholic Charities.
Sanchez said January is the month to start keeping an eye out for employer W-2s in the mail or 1099-MISC forms if you’re self-employed or do contract work.
If you’re retired, be on the lookout for 1099-R forms from pension plans and SSA 1099s from Social Security.
“You're going to be itemizing definitely your home mortgage interest rate, all the receipts that you saved from medical bills, doctor visits, co-pays, prescriptions, eye glasses prescriptions, anything that you feel would be helpful to you to be itemizing,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said when collecting paperwork for tax deductions, people make a few mistakes.
“What I've seen is people tend to save up meal receipts when they work a regular 9-to-5 job, not really self-contracted. Those aren't tax deductibles, as well as gas receipts,” Sanchez said.
The best way to know if something is tax-deductible or not is to check the IRS website. It has a full list of things you can and can’t claim.
For anyone who needs help with their taxes, VITA offers free tax preparation for anyone earning up to $60,000 a year.