Anticipation of your next family trip seems to make the days drag on, feeling like your vacation will never get here, but those occasions you dread always arrive before you know it. That’s tax time in our home. You can’t escape filing taxes but you can cut down on the dread by preparing yourself.
Organize your Documents
If you’re like me you’ve probably kept receipts, paystubs, statements and other documents on hand in preparation for tax time but a box full of random paper can be overwhelming. Instead sort your paperwork into individual file folders. In our home we have files for childcare costs and activities, pay stubs, gas receipts, office expenses and…well you get the idea. This will make it much easier to find what you’re looking for when completing your tax forms.
Print Electronic Copies
I love the convenience of banking and making payments online. It’s something I can do on my time and it means less paperwork coming through the mailbox. Come tax time you may need backups for some of those payments such as your child’s soccer lessons or your professional association fee. Be sure to print off copies of these and file them in the appropriate file (or create a new one) as per my point above.
Understand Your Available Tax Credits
Do you run a business out of your home? Does your credit card have expenses for client gifts and dinners? Did the kids attend art classes this year? Some of these expenses may be deductable or make you accessible to tax credits. Knowing what you’re entitled to could make the difference between owing money and receiving a refund.
Schedule Time to Work on Taxes
In our home preparing our personal and home business tax returns is something we HAVE to do not something we WANT to do but putting it off until the last minute usually results in more stress. You know when your taxes are due so block a few hours in your calendar beforehand to sit and focus on the task. Make sure distractions are at a minimum, as in the grandparents are watching the kids and the television isn’t tuned to your favourite binge-worthy show. Give yourself lots of time. On the bright side, if you finish early you can treat yourself to a little personal peace and quiet.
Use a Tax Filing System
Tax filing software like TurboTax can make tax preparation less stressful and filing quick and easy. There’s something about government documents that can be intimidating and confusing and it’s probably the reason most people pay an outside person to complete their forms for them. TurboTax makes it easier, translating tax tasks into simple questions about your life and putting the information into the right spot. If you do have a question when filling out your forms, TurboTax is right there, ready to help with online support, a live community of TuboTax employees and customers, plus live tax advice via phone or chat access.
Taxes, like death, aren’t something you can avoid but you don’t need to dread the former. Taking a few simple steps to prepare you can make the whole process easier. Tax season may never be your favourite time of year but following these steps and using software like TurboTax may make it less stressful.
This post is sponsored by TurboTax.