Virtually no one enjoys doing their taxes. This is especially true for anyone who thinks they may owe money for the past tax year. That said, filing your taxes is an annual tradition and legal requirement that every American must comply with. If you are dreading tax time, you may be able to alleviate your feelings of stress if you go into the process already fully prepared for what you will need. Here are 3 tax preparation tips to help you get through the filing process smoothly this year.
Create a Checklist In Advance Of the Deadline
One of the reasons people find tax time so stressful is because they wait until the last minute and then are left scrambling for all of their paperwork. Doing your taxes like this can easily lead to an error that could cost you money. As soon as you receive all of your W-2s or other required documents from your employers, create a checklist and staple all required documents to it. The checklist should include all sources of income, all personal expenses or deductions you plan to take, any business or stock information and so on. If you sit down and write down your entire financial map without a looming deadline over your head, you will find that things will likely go more smoothly when it's time to transfer this information onto the official tax forms.
Pull Your Previous Tax Filings
For most individuals, there will be few changes in your taxes from one year to the next, especially if you kept the same job and marital status. Pull your last 3 years worth of tax filings before you sit down to file the current year. This will allow you to make sure that you prepare all needed information ahead of time. You'll also be able to clearly see any changes you need to make, such as if you did get a new job, got married or had children.
Get Professional Help
Yes, professional help for your taxes will cost you some money. But have you considered that having a professional accountant on your side could actually pay for itself by saving you some money when you file? A professional accountant will be able to take a look at your complete financial picture and will be able to inform you of any tax loopholes that will allow you to save some of your hard-earned cash. Contact a professional from a company like The Callen Accounting Group, PLLC if you're interested in this option.
If you want tax time to go smoothly, don't wait until the last minute to file. Get all of your information organized well in advance so that when you actually file, you can just transfer the information from your checklist to the official form. Pull previous years' tax returns as your return likely did not have too many major changes from year to year. Finally, consider professional help as it could actually save you additional money on your return by finding additional tax loopholes to take advantage of.