Taxes got you pulling out your hair? Follow these tips to make your last-second tax filing a walk in the park
April 15th is just around the corner, which means tax day is imminent. Some have everything turned in, but a lot of us are planning a weekend full of taxes. No one likes the monotony and confusion of filling out tax forms, but it doesn’t have to be bad. Filing taxes is a sometimes irritating necessity, but don’t let it take over and overwhelm you.
If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, don’t freak out. Take a deep breath, and check out these 5 last minute tax tips.
1. Collect Your Paperwork
Before the weekend rolls around, make sure you have all the paperwork you need to complete your taxes. You’ll need to report all the money you made in the past year, which means you’ll need W-2 forms. If you made large purchases like a house, business, or car, make sure you have receipts and official statements. Collect statements regarding retirement funds and investments so you can report those, too.
David Chang of FindAFax, a fellow last-second tax filer, adds, “Look at your credit card statement for deductible charges. Also download your 1099-DIV and other documents from your bank & investment accounts now so you’re not scrambling over the weekend when their servers may be hammered.”
2. Consult Online Resources
Thankfully, you’re not the first one who has waited until the last minute to do your taxes. The internet makes doing your taxes easier than ever. The IRS provides plenty of resources, including an Interactive Tax Assistant. There are also resources out there for small business owners looking to complete taxes on their own. These are easy-to-use and built for people like you.
Check out these strange (but true) tax deductions!
3. Call A Friend
If you’re really confused about something, don’t just take a guess. Call a friend, acquaintance, or relative that might know something about taxes. People are usually happy to help out, as long as they know you need their expertise. You might be lucky enough to know an accountant, but even a business person in the family can help you out. Pick up the phone, send an email, and get in touch if you don’t know the answer.
4. Use a Software Solution
There are tons of inexpensive software programs that can help you file taxes with ease. They ask questions as you go and guide you through the process. Use a tax software comparison site, like Tax-Compare.com to quickly see which tax software, such as TurboTax, H&R Block, or TaxACT, are best for you. Remember, the free tax e-file plans may not allow you to file complex forms, such as MISC 1099s, so make sure you know what you’re filing before you select a free e-file.
5. Vow To Plan Ahead for Next Year
We all wait until the last minute sometimes, and that’s ok. Filing taxes is made a little bit easier if you plan ahead, and it’s certainly less stress inducing. If you take your time, you’ll be less likely to make mistakes. If you come across problems, you can decide to hire an accountant or take the time to sort out the situation yourself. Vow to plan ahead for next year. When next April comes along, you’ll be glad that you did.
Filing taxes doesn’t have to be a nightmare, even if you file them last minute. Collect your paperwork, consult online resources, call a friend, use a software solution, and vow to plan ahead for next year. If you follow these tips and stay calm, you’ll do fine. You may even get a hefty tax return!