The following article is a guest post.
Job stress. Economic hardship. Helping kids with homework. Health issues. So many of us are facing any or all of these issues, so adding the stress of filing your taxes can be oh-so-miserable. With a good deal of knowledge or at least aligning yourself with someone who has this, tax season doesn’t have to be a thing of sheer dread.
Read on for our tips on how to make tax filing stress-free. With everything else we deal with on a day-to-day basis, this can be one less to-do item causing undue anxiety.
If you’re a DIY type or if you have a background in finance or economics, pride might get in the way of seeking help from a tax pro.
There’s no shame in getting help from someone whose job it is to stay abreast of the latest tax laws and to streamline the process of filing. On top of their knowledge of the nuanced tax laws, this person will understand the regulations and how to file the proper deductions.
If you attempt to do these things on your own, it’s possible that you could make huge and costly mistakes, so why not get it right the first time?
It’s one thing if you are single with no kids and your taxes are uncomplicated. But those who have one or more homes, children, businesses, and more should hire someone that can help navigate the complicated tax regulations associated with these things. Not only will this person help to avoid mistakes, but her knowledge could help to save or make you money.
Lastly, she can help you with past IRS tax problems that would otherwise come back to haunt you at this time of year.
Be Overly Organized.
Because being effective with filing taxes requires receipts and other records, organization is key.
This will be particularly helpful if you’ve hired a tax professional, as he will be able to power through your taxes if he’s given all the receipts, records, and books that he needs.
Make sure to file all necessary documents throughout the year. Because physical receipts can easily get lost or damaged, it’s best to be diligent about scanning and storing these online right away.
And as this Entrepreneur.com article notes, “For the non-physical documents and records, you should already have a bookkeeper or accounting staff member keeping track of all your invoicing and payables via an accounting software system such as QuickBooks, Xero or Freshbooks.”
Many of us are prone to procrastination and, while the urge is totally understandable (especially when it comes to things like filing taxes!), avoiding the rush will help keep your stress at a manageable level. If you’ve ever been at the post office on Tax Day, you know this to be true.
If you have to, you can always research what locations will send off your taxes without having a late postmark. What would be better though is getting a jump on your taxes so that you can e-file. You can do this until midnight on April 15 and, even better, there is no charge.
File an Extension If the Writing is on the Wall.
One thing about taxes that we know for sure is that you need to file them by Tax Day or pay the price—that is, unless you file for an extension.
If you can already tell that this isn’t going to happen for you this year, fill out IRS Form 4868. If you mail it in or e-file this by April 15, the extension will be granted and you will have until October 15.
Make Denial a No-No.
“Da Nile” ain’t just a river in Egypt! Ignoring the fact that you need to file is going to cause more stress in the long run so, if you see that you aren’t going to make the deadline, estimate the amount you owe and file or get that extension.
As the IRS puts it, “In most cases, the failure-to-file penalty is 10 times more than the failure-to-pay penalty. So if you can’t pay in full, you should file your tax return and pay as much as you can.”
Making tax-filing completely stress-free might be reaching for the stars but, if you follow these tips, you should be able to significantly decrease the associated anxiety.