Not many people enjoy having to crunch the numbers during tax time, but it's something everyone has to do eventually. If you want to make this process go a little more smoothly, doing a bit of tax preparation before you begin can go a long way toward eliminating any future headaches. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you work to finalize the tax return for last year or your last financial quarter.
Find All Documents You Need Before You Begin
Before you sit down to actually start your taxes, you should first go hunting for every last document you need. Perhaps you have already created a dedicated spot for documents like W-2s or 1099s as soon as you receive them. Keeping a ledger of your possible business expenses or deductions is also a good idea. If you don't already have these things ready to go, take the time to find the right documents and put them all next to you so everything is immediately available as you begin filling out the IRS forms.
Consider Tax Preparation Software
It's possible today to get some help with tax preparation by using a software program. Software can do more than just the math for you, including finding potential deductions or tax credits you weren't even aware of. How expensive or complex the software needs to be might depend on how complex your taxes are, but there's likely a program out there for everyone.
Consider a Tax Preparation Service
Of course, even tax prep software requires you to have some basic knowledge about how taxes work and to have the right information to input. If you don't want to turn to technology to get this task done, you could consider using a tax preparation service instead. This will allow another person who is far more familiar with the tax code than you are to take care of everything for you.
Take a Deep Breath
If you are going to go it alone though, just remember to relax and take it step by step. Rushing to do your taxes is never a good idea. Yes, maybe you'll hit the deadline, but if you make a mistake, the IRS could catch it and ask you to fix something, and then they might hit you with a penalty anyway.
If you do want some additional help getting your taxes done, contact a local tax preparation professional at a service such as Hough & Co CPA to discuss your needs.