How To Get My Taxes In Order
Do not let the complexities of taxes scare you. While you may not be able to complete your own return, you can at least have enough knowledge to make wise financial decisions that impact your taxes.
There is nothing worse for your CPA or tax preparer than being a client that has no clue what is going on or why their choices impact tax planning.
But it is not that hard to focus on seem basic concepts that will help everyone stay more organized in this hectic world we live in.
1. Use The Free Tax Tools Available
There are many free tools available to help you organize your taxes. You should start by asking your tax prep person, or find a “tax organizer”.
2. Just Google It
From item 1 above, just google “tax checklist” or “income tax organizer” and you will see tons of free items available. Some sites may want you to sign up and they email it to you, so use an email that you do not mind some ads being sent to.
3. Use IRS FREE FILE
If you make around $60,000 or less and have a relativity simple return, the IRS partners with various tax companies to allow a FREE federal return. Check it out here: https://www.irs.gov/uac/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free
The benefit for these companies is they charge for a state tax return and most people do not want the hassle, so they just pay. Look for a free state return option elsewhere. Save your money.
4. Visit Tax Message Forums Online
You can get so much knowledge by just taking the time to search sites such as http://www.taxprotalk.com/forums/
Many professional preparers chat here and offer great advice.
5. Ask Friends For Advice Or Their CPA
Good word of mouth advertising is often more reliable than checking the phone book or Google for the answer. Friends and family are often the ones you can trust.
6. Check Online Review Services
Ones such as Angie’s List or Thumbtack and provide good feedback and reviews than can help you determine a quality CPA or EA, in case you need professional advice for your income taxes.
7. Common Sense – Just Save Documents
When in doubt, save all documents that you think are related to your taxes. Try to separate them by type, such as medical bills, charity, or improvements that may have energy credits for example. If you or your children are attending college, the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning credits are great.
Overall, there are not many stressful situations as tax time for many. However, it is normally not as bad as you think and with a little planning can become just another simple task that is completed each and every year.