Almost everyone dreads tax season. It’s a stressful time often filled with last-minute filings and the rush to collect documents, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead of waiting until springtime to think about tax season, start organizing now so your home or small business will be ready—and you can focus on less stressful parts of your life.
Save All Your Documents
Tax season signals a flood of documents through your mail – W2s, 1099s, and others. Many people leave these in the mail pile and then scramble to find them when April 1 arrives. Instead, save all your tax documents and keep them in one place. This can be anything from a file folder to a shoebox; just make sure you know where it is, and keep your forms neatly inside.
Choose Your Preparation Method
There are several tax preparation methods to choose from, and it’s vital to know which is best for you. If you’re financially savvy or enjoy working with numbers, you can prepare your own taxes. If not, you might seek a professional. Many people turn to software like TurboTax and QuickBooks. No matter what method you choose, familiarize yourself with it early.
Check Your Status
Several factors will affect your tax status. If you got married or had a baby in the last year or if a grown child moved out, make a note of it. Talk to a tax professional, as well as the other affected people in your family. They can help you make sure you aren’t paying more than you should, claiming dependents you shouldn’t, or making other common mistakes.