10 Tips on How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Tax Season

10 Tips on How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Tax Season

10 Tips on How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Tax Season

As we're cresting the hill of another tax season, we wanted to remind you of some simple steps for having a stress-free tax season.

Watch for these signs on the road and follow our guideposts:

1. Curb Your Anxiety – The arrival of spring should be a time for happiness and looking forward. However, for many people, the month of March brings anxiety as they prepare for tax season. This perception leads many people being overwhelmed by the process. Some are so fearful that they avoid it altogether!

2. Do Not Enter – Avoid the fear of filing! People fail to file tax returns due to procrastination, lost documents, or a fear that they will owe money. While these concerns are understandable, you can’t get to your next financial destination point unless you know your point of origin. There could be a refund waiting for you and even if you owe money, there are flexible payment options available to you. Regardless of the outcome, filing your taxes on time will not only shorten your to-do list, it will help you plan for the future.

3. Green Light Go – Start as early as possible! The deadline for filing individual tax returns is usually mid-April, so set aside some time in the weeks before to organize your paperwork, make sure you have all the necessary forms, learn about any changes that may affect you, and get copies of any missing documents. Finally, schedule at least a half-day in your calendar when you know you can complete your paperwork without interruption.

4. Maintenance Mode – Get your documents in order! Make a list of everything you need to complete your tax return including W-2 forms, charitable receipts, investment income statements, childcare invoices, freelance income, etc.  Then, prepare one document with any other important information you’ll need to complete the form such as social security numbers, mortgage interest amounts, etc.

5. Yield to Oncoming Traffic – Use the correct form(s). There are many forms to choose from when preparing your taxes. The 1040A form is one of the simplest and shortest but, depending on your circumstances, it may not be the right one for you. To find out which form(s) you may need, give us a call!

6. Look Both Ways – Double-check your information. Mistakes with math calculations result in many tax returns being rejected. However, and more commonly, people forget to sign their names, or have typos in their personal information. The information on your tax return must match what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has on file for you. Once you have completed your paperwork, set it aside for a day or two and then review it with fresh eyes, or ask us to help you proofread it.

7. Watch For Signals – Consider filing electronically. It has never been easier to file your taxes online and there are many benefits of using this option. Not only is it faster and more convenient, but you will also receive a confirmation that the IRS has received it within 24 hours. If there is a problem with your return, you will also find out how to fix it sooner. And, most importantly, if you’re eligible for a refund, you will receive it earlier!

8. Use GPS – Seek help in charting your course. Working with a professional can ease your tax preparation burden. Speak with one of our professionals about how to position yourself for financial success!

9. Arriving Ahead of Schedule – Preparing and filing your income tax return can be time-consuming, but it’s also a valuable opportunity to review a year’s worth of finances to make informed financial decisions for the following year.

10. Sit Back and Relax – Nothing is better than the open road. With your financial road map well planned out, you'll be able to just enjoy the ride!