Tips to Make Next Year’s Taxes Even Easier
We all want taxes to a be a bit easier – fewer numbers, less document chasing, and more wiggle room. Taxpayers have to go by the book Uncle Sam wrote, but below are a few ways you can lift the weight of it off of your shoulders.
Sync Your Schedule
Tired of the cram on April 14th of every year? Make a commitment to focus attention on your taxes and general financial situation throughout the year, and you’ll save yourself some stress. From January to December, think of the big picture. Have a plan for your savings and contribute regularly, keep tabs on your financial records (more on that below), consider a paycheck withholding adjustment, and know your previous adjusted gross income. From January to April, keep a hawk eye on receipt of your W2 and check documents off the list, then set aside at least a few hours to e-file. Request an extension if needed. From April to October, prepare to file if you requested an extension. From October to December, plan for deductions and credits; scope out potential ones you haven’t taken advantage of.
Receipt papers crumple, fly away, and fade. Whether you’re expecting to accrue piles of receipts for itemized deductions, or simply need a W2, always scan to your computer and back up on a hard drive. You’ll not only immortalize your records, but allow for easy referencing when the time comes.
Review & Repeat
Do you ignore those emails from your bank alerting that your bank statement is ready to view? While you stockpile receipts and balance your budget, take a few moments to scan each month’s bank statement for every account you have to make sure you don’t overlook anything that didn’t come with a receipt. Crosscheck, highlight, repeat.
Designate Helping Hands
Most people need help when filing their taxes – it may be an individual tax professional, another third party that streamlines the process, or the IRS. Find a trusted source of tax laws and stick to it. Building these relationships will ensure you’re taking your financial situation and/or business where it needs to go – hopefully with a refund.
Frequent, small efforts make all the difference. Take one step at a time and avoid the April rush. Set alerts in your calendar and it’ll be smooth sailing every tax season.