Whether you waited until the last minute or filed months ago, there is one last 2009 tax tips and tricks that you need to follow. Print out a copy of your tax return from your TurboTax software or print out your taxes from your TaxCut software, or whatever other tax software program you used to file your Federal Income Taxes.
Many people have the misconception that the TurboTax file saved on their computer as they worked on their Income Taxes is a regular file that can be opened and printed with a regular software program like Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Reader. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The files generated by popular tax preparation programs like TurboTax and TaxCut is a proprietary file that can only be opened in the tax program. While next year’s version of the program will most likely be able to open that tax file, you have to buy it first. That isn’t very helpful if you need to produce a copy of your taxes in September to get a small business loan or open up a bank account.
There are ways to hack open TurboTax files, but why go through all that trouble?
Print Your TurboTax Files Now
While your tax program is still installed on your computer hard drive, run the program and click on the File Print Save section. I recommend printing out a hard copy of the actual forms submitted to the IRS as part of your income tax filing. That includes the Form 1040, Schedule A, Schedule D, and so on.
Most programs allow you to select how much you want to print, ranging from print only the official IRS form filed or e-filed, all the way to print everything, including all worksheets. Just print the filed forms. You won’t need all that other stuff unless you get audited.
However, you might want some of those numbers later on, and re-calculating them is a waste of time. Instead, use the program’s save function to save out one of the "all worksheets, all forms" options as a PDF file. That way, you can open and read that file whenever you want, even if the tax software has been uninstalled from your computer.
Which brings up one final point. By default, TurboTax saves your personal tax information files in the TurboTax directory. Normally, that isn’t an issue, but if the day comes when you are looking to delete some files from your computer, or choosing which files to backup or move to a new computer, you might think that the TurboTax folder is just the program’s files. In that case, you might assume you don’t need them anymore!
Go ahead and copy both your program’s data file, the TurboTax file, AND the PDF file that you saved out as instructed above to another folder. Name this folder something like Taxes 2009, and you can be sure that when you see that folder five or six months for now that you will probably be thinking, "Oh, those are my taxes. I better make sure and save those."
Get ready to start saving money on taxes in 2010! But, first, go out and relax a bit. You’ve earned it.