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Follow these five tips to utilize digital technology to its full advantage to make the complete process – from organizing receipts to claiming a refund – quick and simple.
1. Request electronic copies of your tax forms. Many employers offer employees the option to receive their W-2 forms electronically, instead of by mail. By eliminating the risk of postal delays or missed deliveries, this ensures that your W-2 will be delivered securely as soon as it is available. Plus, faster W-2s can mean faster tax returns.
2. Securely store documents online. Avoid the mess of a mound of paperwork by storing – and organizing – all of your tax-related documents online. By utilizing a free, secure service such as the Master Lock Vault (www.masterlockvault.com) you’ll have easy access to all of your files wherever you are and help ensure that none of your paper documents will ever be lost, misplaced, stolen or damaged. Not only can you upload PDF forms, but you can upload photos from your phone of important receipts and expenses for your records. All data is instantly synchronized between the website and the App. Bonus: securely store log-in information for your bank accounts and tax filing site in the Vault so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your username or password.
3. Think taxes year-round. Don’t wait until you’re ready to file your taxes to start collecting and organizing the supporting documents you’ll need to complete your return. Avoid the scramble by capturing and uploading a digital image of your receipt each time you pay the babysitter or have a tax deductible transaction, fill a prescription at the pharmacy, or make a charitable contribution such as dropping off a clothing donation to your local thrift store.
4. Opt for direct deposit. If you’ve done everything else online, why request a hard-copy check when it comes time to claim your refund? When combined with electronic filing, direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. If you’re on the other side of the spectrum and find that you owe taxes, opt to pay online and you can avoid the long tax-season lines at the post office.
5. Call for help. Sometimes, outside advice is necessary, and you can now get the help you need without leaving home. Based on the complexity of your question, there are a variety of resources to turn to. For example, the IRS offers a toll-free hotline for tax questions during weekdays. Several tax-prep software providers also offer guidance via online forums or on their social media feeds.
Master Lock “Tax Relief Rewards” Sweepstakes
An added bonus of utilizing the Master Lock Vault to organize the tax filing process this year is the chance to win $1,000 to supplement your tax refund, or help ease the burden of additional taxes owed. To enter, new users can register for a Vault account at www.masterlock.com/tax_relief or www.MasterLockVault.com. Once the account has been activated, users will receive an email containing the sweepstakes entry form. Existing Vault users who have opted in for brand communications will receive an email with the sweepstakes entry form once the sweepstakes kicks off March 11. One entry will be accepted per person through April 16, when the sweepstakes closes and five winners will be drawn at random.
Master Lock Vault
Benefits of the Vault extend well beyond the tax season. Use the system year-round, via the website or by installing one of the free mobile apps for your Apple®, Android®, Kindle® or Nook® devices. Securely store and organize lock combinations, digital copies of your passport and social security card and other confidential data such as debit or PIN card numbers or online credit card account log-in information. Offering a high level of online security, the Vault serves as a digital safe deposit box for quick and easy access to valuable information anytime, anywhere.
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