Tax Tip: Start Your 2011 Return Now

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Now is the time for all loyal taxpayers to get started on their 2011 tax returns.

No, that wasn't a typo. I did not mean to say "2010 tax return"

To repeat, now is the time for all good men (and women) to get started on their 2011 tax returns!

Tax planning is a year-round process that begins on January 1st and continues all year long. To make sure that you will pay the absolute lowest amount of federal and state income tax possible for 2011, it is important to start the year off right.

Perhaps the most important tip is to resolve to become more informed on federal and state tax laws.  It is impossible to know the right moves to make in your daily financial life without a basic knowledge of the tax implications of your actions.

Learn what you can, and cannot, deduct on your tax return, including special items that are unique to your trade or profession, and the rules governing any special situations that apply to you, and keep up to date on federal and state tax law changes. Even if you use a professional to prepare your return, the more informed you are on tax matters, the more prepared you will be when you go to your annual tax appointment.

You'll know what receipts are worth keeping, and you may find that a slight change in behavior can save you big bucks throughout the year. You can find a summary of tax law changes at the IRS website.

Of course, the best way to keep on top of all the current tax news is on MainStreet's Taxes page, where I will be posting new tips every week!

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.