How Can I Make My Taxes Easier This Year
It happens every year. The holidays are over, life has more or less returned to normal, and things are going along just fine. You’re still plugging away on those resolutions from January 1st, and you’ve finally gotten back into a routine. Then you hear an advertisement, read an article, or see something on TV that reminds you of tax season. April 15th is rolling around much more quickly than you thought it would.
You already know what it’s like to rush through your returns, to feel like you might be missing something, and essentially to run out of time. If you’re like many Americans, you’ve told yourself that things will be different next year. But life takes over, and taxes are once again the furthest thing from your mind. Suddenly you’re in the same situation as the previous year, ill-prepared and stressed out as the deadline looms.
The reality is, however, that taxes aren’t all that stressful for everyone. Many people have found ways to make the whole process easier—and when most people are scrambling to get their receipts in order, others are confident in their returns and have moved on to other concerns.
So what’s the secret?
As it turns out, making your taxes easier isn’t rocket science. A few simple tricks and tips can help lift the burden, such as:
1. Find a trusted tax professional
This is the single most obvious—and effective—way to ease the burden of annual tax returns. Obviously someone who is trained in tax code and tax law will be able to handle your taxes, and tip the scales to your advantage, in ways that are beyond the average person. But there’s also a lot to be said in finding someone you can really trust, who will handle your taxes year after year. Be developing a familiarity with your unique tax situation, such a professional can make things even easier and more effective.
2. Keep your documentation
Any good tax professional will tell you that having too much documentation is better than not having enough. The more you document, the easier it will be for your tax professional to prove your case to state and federal tax authorities.
3. Get it done early
Did you know that the IRS starts accepting tax returns in January? A big part of the stress involved in tax returns is the tendency to leave it until the last minute. By knocking it out early, you can breathe easy while other people are scrambling.
Getting the right people in your corner
Unless your tax situation is glaringly simple, there’s a strong argument for putting your returns in the hands of a trained professional. Most people find the cost negligible when you add up the benefits, both financial and stress-related. At the very least, it may be worth researching qualified tax specialists in your area, and making a short list of the most reputable professionals. Maybe you’ll use their services once and decide you don’t need them. Chances are, however, you’ll kick yourself for waiting so long.