Your Definitive Tips for Stress-Free Tax Preparation
“Federal Income Tax Return”, those four words haunt, harasses and terrifies most Americans come April of every year. Most bury their heads under the sand, some make a faint effort at preparing their returns, but all will at some point undergo a period of stress in trying to figure things out. After all, no-one wants the IRS knocking on their door, and no-one certainly wants to end up in front of a judge.
So what’s the solution? The answer starts with having solid mental mindset, one devoid of worry and filled clarity of focus and thoughts. I’ll show you how to traverse the dangerous road of annual tax returns. Once you have these principles ‘down pat’ as they say, you’ll start to feel the benefits of an ‘untightened’ chest and no headaches.
Let’s get started.
First Things First
April may seem like a lifetime away in May but as most people will tell you: “time flies!” It is therefore important to aim off well in getting yourself ready for the tax period. By January or thereabouts, you should be in the right frame of mind to tackle the impending tax returns. This involves not just a mental preparation but having your records in order. This is usually the time to get everything sorted: income statements, bank statements, mortgage returns, and other tax-connected data must be sifted in piles of what is ‘’allowable’ and what is ‘payable’.
Once these are sorted you can then start to make preparations for the actual filing. Try and maximize your tax savings by matching all tax-deductible payments against what you are liable to pay.
Leverage the IRS
The IRS has a wealth of information on its own website that can guide you along the way. Everything from the tax forms to tips on filling them in is included and so it is always wise to visit their site and dig as much as possible into their online help section.
If you are unable to pay anyone to help you with the actual form filling and subsequent filing then you can take advantage of two IRS sponsored programs that cater to people in your circumstance. They are Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). The latter is pretty much self-explanatory while the former caters for people who are either on low income, in the military, speakers of languages other than English and students. As government sponsored programs you can be assured that the help you get at either of these organizations will be sound and extremely helpful. That’s the power of leverage.
If You Don’t Want to Do Any Heavy Lifting
The two organizations mentioned above may not fit within the scope of what you want to achieve. As government sponsored programs they are often inundated with requests for help and as such may not be always give the quality assistance that is necessary in making tax returns worry-free. This is where paid tax professionals come in. These are individuals or organizations that are licensed to give tax advice and help with the filing of tax returns.
You can find these professional online and so the need to leave your house and walk into an office is virtually unnecessary. You’ll still need to give then the raw data to work with though and so the initial step of getting all your records in order is still important.
The approach outlined above is guaranteed to help you have a stress-free April well into the future. Prepare early, keep detailed records of expenses and income and you will be well on your way to keeping the IRS happy. 99% of the people that have trouble with their tax returns do so because they neglect these very fundamental tenets of astute tax preparations. Welcome to the 1%.