Tax season is loved by some and despised by many. It comes every year in April, yet we still seem surprised that it is that time yet again! We ask ourselves, “Did we not just do this?”, or “Has it been a year already?” How about, “Where are those receipts?”, “Did we get that piece of paper from (insert name here) regarding the charitable contribution we made ten months ago?” How quickly fear and anxiety levels go through the roof in the first quarter of the year! All of this because April 15th is looming! Being organized when it comes to matters of the IRS can give you confidence, diminish that anxiety, and will definitely cut down on the amount of time spent getting ready to file your taxes each year. I hope you are ready, as April 15th is here, and you have until midnight to get those returns either in the mail or e-filed!
Are you an organized individual, keeping files, records and receipts all in order? Or are you the opposite and pride yourself on keeping randomness as part of your “organizing” skill set? I know both types of people. I personally am a list person about everything going on in my life. This skill definitely helps me when it comes to tax season. I won’t say I’m not scrambling a bit in February to make sure everything we need is in hand, but overall I am capable of keeping things relatively organized. Let’s face it, when you don’t do something often it is hard to remember how you did it. If you want to get a jump start on next year, there are tools available to help organize, store, and transport your documents all-in-one. I recommend creating a checklist to keep track of all the documents you might need. It will create a visual que for tracking everything down, as well as knowing what is still missing. Tools like these enable you to collect everything throughout the year so you will be ready to file!
Do you have your taxes prepared by a professional, or are you tech savvy enough to do them yourself? There are updates every year regarding deductions, what you can and cannot claim, and other important guidelines. The average person doesn’t always have the time or resources to educate themselves on researching eligible deductions and credits each year. A professional will more than likely have had the training required to prepare your return using the correct forms and knowing the proper deductions for your unique situation. Many people use the same person or company each year just so there is a familiarity and a sense that they are taking great care in preparing your taxes. If you are really brave, then use a software package to prepare your taxes. This software will be up-to-date with the latest tax laws, and can provide confidence that both your State and Federal taxes will be done right. The most popular software claims their calculations are 100% accurate, and that they are guaranteed. Professional or DIY, just find the fit that works the best for you!
The most important thing about actually filing your returns is that even if you don’t have the money to pay your taxes at the time you file, you are encouraged to file your return anyway. This will help to avoid any penalty fees. You can also file for an extension if you aren’t quite ready, which gives you until October 15th. It is recommended that you still send in an estimate of the taxes owed in April. The next step is submitting your return. There are two ways to do this – by mail or by e-filing. E-filing is faster, safer and more convenient. Filing by paper can be cheaper, but the IRS takes longer to process any of the refunds done this way. Do you mail your returns in or do you e-file? Again, this is a personal preference.
I wish you the best, and hope that this has been helpful. Don’t be afraid to step out in faith and get this task done. You’ve got this! Just remember that the Bible says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” KJV
As a Web Merchandiser for Mardel, I write on Education, Jewelry, and Apparel for our web site. I write from the heart of being a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and Women’s Ministry Coordinator at my church. More than anything else, I love the Lord.