Stressed About Tax Season? You Got This.
TAX SEASON. It’s finally here – and it’s going to be over sooner than you realize. Although you may dread tax season for various reasons, some people find it very rewarding. But no matter how you feel about it you better get those taxes submitted before the deadline of April 15th. So, if you’re still putting off completing your tax returns here are a few simple tips for getting them done on time and with ease.
1. Plan ahead: who will be preparing your tax returns?
If preparing your own taxes is something you can do, then all you really need to do is decide whether you are going to mail in a paper copy or submit through one of the many great tax software providers such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block. It’s worth noting that submitting through e-file is a much simpler and faster process than mailing in. If you think it’s best that someone else prepare them, make sure you call to make an appointment a couple of weeks in advance as tax preparation service providers are extremely busy during this time of year.
2. Be Prepared!
Being prepared for getting your returns together can make the process go a lot smoother, especially if you are using a tax preparation service provider. You do not want to waste your appointment by not having all necessary documents with you. Here’s a list of the most common documents and pieces of information you will need for your appointment – but please note that this is not everything.
- Work income (W-2 or 1099 forms)
- Home Office Expenses
- Charitable Donations
- 1095 forms, which verify health insurance coverage.
- If you do not have health insurance for the year, a penalty will be added to both your federal and state returns. However, the federal penalty will be redacted for next year’s tax filing. States may still apply a penalty, so make sure you brush up on your local tax laws.
- 1098 forms for Mortgage Interest
- IRA Distributions or Contributions
- Rental Property Income or Expenses
- Social Security Benefits
- Student Loan Interest
- Child Care Costs
- Care centers and providers should give you all necessary information – if not, ask.
- Paid State, Real Estate, Personal Property taxes
- Personal Information
- This is information about you, your spouse, and any dependents. This will include full names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. If you are filing a joint return with your spouse, make sure you have their income documents as well.
- Direct Deposit Information
- This is optional, for if you wish to have your refund deposited into your bank account.
3. Do not wait until the last minute.
Waiting until the last minute can make filing your taxes a lot more stressful than it needs to be. You never know if something will come up unexpectedly that can turn that simple tax return into a much more complicated one. But if that does happen, try not to freak out. If you do not think you will be able to submit before the deadline you have the option to file for an extension. If approved, this enables you to file your return by October 15th without facing a late-filing penalty.
Although this extension can be extremely helpful it’s not the best option for everyone. For example, if you believe you will owe taxes you should try your best to estimate the amount of taxes you may owe and submit to the IRS before April 15th. If you do not, you will be penalized with a payment penalty regardless of an extension. And no one needs that in their life.
You still have time until the tax deadline, so get started before it’s too late!
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