Here are 10 tips to help you getting your taxes ready before the due date:
Tip #1: Keep all receipts and invoices. This way, when tax time comes around, you won’t have to waste time digging and looking around for the paper trail for your deductions.
Tip #2: Keep good records of your income. Keep a copy of all checks, check stubs, and other receipts of payment so that it’s quick and easy to figure out what your real income was for a period of time.
Tip #3: File early. If you plan to file on April 10th, anything that comes up that will take longer than five days will cause you to be late. The earlier you start to file, the harder it is for something unexpected to make you late.
Tip #4: File electronically. The days of endless paper forms are long gone. Filing electronically still allows you to print out relevant forms for your records, but makes mistakes much more difficult, and makes the filing process much faster.
Tip #5: Keep backup copies of your W-2 forms. For most people, the W-2 is the most important form to have on hand when it’s time to file taxes. It holds information for your income, as well as tax withholding information. If you lose one of these, it can take a while to get a replacement, so make backup copies as soon as you receive them in the mail.
Tip #6: Compare 1099 forms to your own records. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to compare the 1099 forms you get to your own personal records of your income to make sure that everything is accurate. A mistake in reporting your income correctly can drag the filing process out even longer.
Tip #7: You don’t have to wait on 1099s. A lot of self-employed individuals think that they have to wait to receive their 1099 forms before they can file their taxes. This isn’t true, as long as you have kept good records of your own income. You can use your own records to file your taxes as long as they are accurate.
Tip #8: Hire an accountant. If you’re just too busy to get your taxes ready, it might be best to just hire an accountant. This way, you are promised to have your taxes filed on time. While the accountant will have fees, it will be much less than the late penalties if you are late on your taxes.
Tip #9: Be familiar with the process. A lot of people avoid learning about taxes because it intimidates them, so when tax time comes around, it takes a lot longer to get their paperwork together. By becoming more familiar with the process, you can speed it up.
Tip #10: Stop procrastinating. If you think about needing to do your taxes, and you have time to work on them, don’t put it off until later. There’s no good reason to do this, and it can only give you problems later on.
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