Early next year, most U.S. households will be filing their tax returns. Even though we’re all busy planning for our holidays and the end of 2014, it’s worth taking a few minutes now to think ahead to the tax filing season.

Think now so you’re ready for filing

Start thinking now about how you’ll prepare your taxes. You may have options you haven’t thought about before.

Get help with your taxes for free

Ask a friend or search online to see if tax preparation services are offered in your area (for example, at libraries, community centers, churches, or clubs).

A checklist from the IRS can help you gather your information for tax year 2014. Make sure to bring your checking account number and savings account number so you can get your refund directly deposited to your accounts—you can split your refund between your accounts if you want.

Do it yourself

You can always file your own tax return, on paper or electronically.

Not sure you need to file at all? Depending on your age, income, and filing status, you might not technically be required to file a return. The IRS has guidance to help you decide whether you need to file. Even if you’re not required to file, it might still be a good idea. You might receive a tax refund, or you might be eligible for tax credits. If you signed up for health care in 2014 and received an advance payment of premium tax credit, or want to claim a premium tax credit, you may need to file a return even if your income is below the filing threshold.

Does your organization provide free services to taxpayers?

We’ve created a set of materials for VITA sites and others to use, as they encourage people to save part of their tax refunds. If your organization helps people prepare their taxes, you can download the materials and use them this tax season:

  • Checklist to send in advance to help taxpayers prepare for their tax appointment
  • Checklist to hand out at the VITA site to help taxpayers have brought all their information with them
  • Worksheet to help taxpayers decide how much to save
  • Handout and table tent describing convenient ways to save from a tax refund
  • Web banner and share graphic for posting on your organization’s Web site and social media
  • Poster 1, poster 2, and small poster encouraging taxpayers to consider saving

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau