Another year, another tax return to file. It’s a part of life that’s sure to happen every year. So while you’re filing the paperwork to get you your hard-earned money back, following a few simple, easy steps can expedite your tax return and put money in your bank account promptly.
Getting your W-2 form as quickly as possible is a start. While your employer doesn’t have to provide it until January 31, getting your hands on it earlier helps you stay ahead of the curve by being able to begin all the necessary paperwork and documentation. Also, the first date taxpayers could turn in their tax returns is normally January 21. But, thanks to the 16-day government shutdown in the fall of 2013, that date is delayed until January 31, 2014.
Being self-employed can be liberating, but if your income comes from payments from clients and customers, you could be putting a target on your back if you’re not completely honest.
The IRS utilizes sophisticated computer programs that aim to catch dishonest taxpayers each and every tax filing season. It’s called the Automated Under-reporter Program, and it helped the IRS recoup more than $6 billion in under-reported income just a couple years ago. It red flags tax returns that aren’t consistent with the agency’s information reports, like payments reported to the IRS by other taxpayers. If you get tagged, you’ll receive a notice in the mail and your tax return won’t be final until you address – and possibly pay for – your tax return’s inconsistency.
Mixing together your business revenue and personal expenses creates confusion come April 15. You’ll have to distinguish your personal expenses for fun and recreation with the business expenses and income that will require different tax treatment. Having them all blended together won’t expedite your tax return as you seek out those business expenses for recruiting clients, or the investment costs of purchasing new capital, among a sea of irrelevant financial information.
Also, if you get audited, you’ll have to answer a litany of questions from the IRS. It’s harder to give them a satisfactory answer if your business transactions are found all over your personal bank accounts.
Some of your business-related expenses can be written off as a tax deduction. Some, but probably fewer, of your personal expenses can also be a tax deduction if they’re work-related. But you can’t justify the deduction if you don’t have the receipts to back them up. That’s where keeping records comes in. Categorizing and dating receipts and invoices help expedite your tax return by skipping out on an unnecessary safari through your entire business records collection. That way you can go straight to where the tax-friendly documents are located.
Submitting your tax returns by using the e-file system not only makes your return more accurate, but it expedites the process by two to three weeks. Its computerized system will also catch human errors, and necessary information a taxpayer forgets to write in. That’s essential for expediting your tax return as one small mathematical mistake or piece of personal information that isn’t entered can delay your return by weeks. Tens of millions of taxpayers file with e-file, so keeping up with the pack will help speed up your return.
How do you insure a speedy tax return? Comment below or tweet us at @StopIRSDebt!
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