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What You Need to Know About Getting Your REAL ID

Hmm, a REAL ID? You might be thinking, “I already have a real ID!” And that may be true, kind of… While you might have an authentic form of identification, a REAL ID is different—and new for many! 

Hold on, we promise it’s not as confusing as it sounds! Let us explain. Here’s what you need to know about getting your REAL ID: the when, why, and how, made simple.

When You Need It

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the REAL ID enforcement deadline has been pushed back, once again. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has now extended the date to May 3, 2023

Although this seemingly gives people “plenty of time” to get their ducks in a line, dates like this always sneak up on people, and it’s better to be prepared than to be scrambling at the last minute. 

LifeHound is here to help!

Why You Need It

In simple terms, for your safety! And for the safety of the United States people. 

Although the U.S. government had a variety of security measures in place prior to the September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, this event scaled their security efforts tenfold.

In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act. This act places stricter rules and restrictions on the type of identification people can use, as to prevent the use of counterfeit driver’s licenses and IDs. The REAL ID that will be mandated in 2023, will be necessary to board United States flights and to enter federal facilities, including federal courthouses, nuclear plants, military bases, and additional federal facilities.

Identification cards that are REAL ID-compliant are marked with a gold star near the top of the ID card. REAL IDs that are administered in California are additionally marked with a gold bear. For state-specific information on how to obtain your REAL ID, visit the DHS’s REAL ID website.

Your REAL ID Checklist

In order to apply for and receive your REAL ID, there is preparation to be done. If you’re using LifeHound, however, the process will be a breeze as all of your important life documents are already organized!

Before you get your REAL ID, know that you should anticipate a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

What You Need to Know About Getting Your REAL ID

But don’t worry! It’ll be quick and easy if you have your documents ready. Below is a list of what you’ll need.

Proof of Identity

Of course, to get your REAL ID, you need to prove your identity! Here are some examples below, according to the California DMV, of what this might look like

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
  • Original or Certified copy of U.S birth certificate
  • U.S. Certificate of Birth Abroad or Consular Report of Birth Abroad of U.S. Citizen
  • Unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. Visa and approved I-94 form
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card”

Note: This is not a comprehensive list. Please visit your state’s DMV site for a complete list of approved proof of identity documents.

Proof of Social Security Number

If eligible, you must present one original document displaying your name and entire social security number. If you are not eligible for a social security number, not to worry! You can still apply for a REAL ID. Visit your state’s DMV site for more comprehensive information. According to the California DMV, however, here are some documents that will pass as proof of your SSN:

  • Social security card
  • W-2 form
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) 1099 form
  • Non-SSA-1099 form
  • Paystub with full SSN

Proof of Residency

In California specifically, you must present two printed documents that prove your state residency. These documents must include your first and last name and the mailing address must match that on your driver’s license or ID application. Some examples that might prove residency include:

  • A rental or lease agreement
  • Deed or title to residential real property
  • Mortgage bill
  • Home utility bill
  • Medical documents
  • Faith-based document

Visit your state’s DMV site for a complete list of necessary documents. 

For those who do not have proof of residency, please visit your state’s DMV for more information.

Not to Worry!

To many, sifting through their life’s important documents to apply for a REAL ID sounds like a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be! At LifeHound, we recommend you take advantage of the REAL ID deadline extension. 

If you begin your free trial of LifeHound today, you truly will have plenty of time to get your application and important documents sorted. LifeHound makes it easy. 

What are you waiting for? Download the app and sign up today!

How to Get Organized for Tax Season

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes!

It’s tax season! *Cue dreaded sigh* Tax season typically means it’s time to go through that massive stack of papers and start preparing your return. Keeping track of your annual income and expenses can be a stressful burden. With all the craziness this past year has thrown our way, don’t let this tax season and the IRS throw you any curveballs. It’s time to get organized. Here are a few tips to help you get through this year’s tax season stress-free.

Start by getting organized. 

If you don’t already track your paperwork in LifeHound, get all your information in one place. Ensure all the forms you have filed are completed accurately, ensuring there aren’t any typos or mistakes. Ensure your EIN numbers, social security numbers, and all other identification forms are accurately stated. Be sure to store all forms, invoices, and receipts in the same place. 

Keep track of things all year long

Tax season typically sneaks up on people. As the year goes you should be keeping all tax-related items together in either a file folder or folder on your computer. And we know, that can be overwhelming to find if you haven’t been doing so the entire year. It’s important that you start now so you’re already ready for next year’s tax season. 

After this last year, the line between business and personal expenses is blurrier than ever. Be diligent about tracking your expenses when they happen and be prepared for the IRS to pay close attention to those write-offs!

Avoid too many deductions.

Vehicle expenses, adoption credits, and home office deductions are all important deductions to consider, especially after this past year. If you are claiming excessive/unrealistic deductions that are disproportionate to your income and expenses claimed by others, it may attract IRS attention. Ensure all your deductions have documentation to back them up, and that documentation is stored in an organized manner. 

If you are a business owner, prepare W-2s and 1099s

As a business owner, you pay and withhold taxes from your staff all year. If you haven’t already provided your employees with their tax forms, you need to do so as soon as possible. 

Keep track of large charitable donations

 Charitable donations are a great way to help your community and receive tax deductions! Be careful about the size of your charitable donations, as a donation that seems too large for your income bracket can attract IRS attention. Non-cash deductions over $500 require Form 8283, be sure you have all the forms required for your specific donation. 

Tax season can be a breeze when you take steps to remain organized and prepared. LifeHound offers a one-stop-shop for all your tax season needs. Store, track, and update your forms and important documentation, so if the IRS does come your way, you’re ready. Sign up for free! Start your organization journey, and give yourself more time to enjoy your life!

How Many Life Skills Do You Have?

How many life skills do you have? It’s time to find out! Take our checklist to see where you land on the ‘adulting’ scale. Whether you’re a novice, getting by, or you’re an expert, there’s always something you can improve when it comes to adulting. This is exactly why we created LifeHound. LifeHound is your life hack to organizing your important documents, deadlines, expiration dates, and more! Want to try? Sign up today, it’s free!