Some people like to do things ahead of time, while others tend to wait until the last minute. And doing taxes is no exception. But there’s a risk if you wait too long to start your taxes. You could face penalties or make a costly mistake. Try these tips to beat procrastination and do your taxes on time.
Start a File or Folder
You’ll need to gather certain forms to create an accurate return. For instance, most people need W-2s, 1099s, and health insurance or health savings account forms. You can get a jump on next year by making a folder now. If you get digital copies of your documents, create a folder on a safe personal computer. Or, keep a paper copy of each form in a file folder where you can easily find it. As soon as each form arrives, put it into the folder so you can file it as quickly as possible.
Track Important Receipts
Everyone’s taxes look a little different. But with some know-how, you can get a better return and keep more money. For example, you may be able to deduct travel costs or other purchases that tie into your job. In addition, you might be able to deduct child care or medical expenses. But it’s crucial to keep the receipts. They help you or your tax preparer enter the correct amounts. And keeping track can improve your tax results. You might owe less or even get a larger return if you overpaid.
Get Help With Your Taxes
If you delay doing your taxes because it’s confusing, you’re not alone. How taxes work and how to fill out the forms is confusing for many. In fact, it can be a very complex process to complete your taxes. As a result, there’s nothing wrong with getting professional help. Tax advisors and certified public accountants can be valuable resources. They study the latest tax law updates and can help you. For the best results, make an appointment early in the tax season. That way, you can have time to gather all the documents you need.
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Ask for More Time
If you have already procrastinated, then you may need more time. You can file for an extension to give you more time to prepare your taxes. However, remember you will still be on the hook for your tax liability. If you file for an extension, you must estimate your tax liability. But an extension also gives you time to get professional help preparing your taxes. If you know you will owe, try to pay as much as possible as soon as possible. By paying what you can, you can reduce the amount you pay in penalties.
Doing your taxes may be challenging, but you can make it easier. Try to get ahead of things and set yourself up for success. The more you procrastinate, the harder it will be to finish them. Start today, and you’ll be closer to completing your taxes.
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