The battle is about to begin. It’s between you and the tax man. And, it’s up to you to find as many legal deductions that you are able to take while the tax laws keeps changing every year. Whether you’re filing your taxes yourself or paying someone to do them for you, here are seven ways to prepare yourself for tax season.
1. Keep yourself organized throughout the year.
You can avoid some of the stress of tax season by keeping yourself organized throughout the year. Have a file set up wherever you keep your important papers with sections where you can separate different things that you know you’ll need later. You could have one for receipts, and another for property taxes, and so on. Keeping everything organized will make it a lot easier when it’s time to find everything.
2. Read the current year’s tax instructions.
As boring as it sounds, take the time to read it. You’ll quickly realize the parts that you can skip. The laws change every year. Reading it might clue you in to deductions that you aren’t aware of.
3. Organize all of your receipts and tax documents.
If you’ve kept them in a file somewhere, this will be easier. But, they still need to be organized. You may have receipts for mileage, business expenses, home-improvements, or other qualified deductions. If you’re doing your takes yourself and you aren’t ready to fill out the forms yet, you can still total the numbers and have them ready.
4. Schedule accountant time.
If you are paying an accountant to file your taxes, call them as early as possible to schedule an appointment. This is, after all, their busiest time of the year.
5. Get all of the forms you need ready.
If you’re doing the work yourself, get all of the forms that you will need printed and ready.
6. Fill out the forms as you get the information that you need.
As information becomes available, you can get the various forms ready for when it’s time to file the tax return.
7. Schedule your time.
If you’re filing your own taxes, avoid procrastinating. Set a goal for a completion time. You might get a surprise at the end of the process and get a tax return instead of having to pay.
Organization is the key to a stress-free tax season. Prepare yourself as best as you can, and get your taxes ready to file as soon as you can. If you owe more money, you can always wait until the deadline to send them in. But, if you are expecting a refund, you can file your return early.