This year, the initial April 15 federal and New York State tax return deadline has been pushed to May 17, giving us a month longer to work on our returns. Even with the added 30 days, just thinking about taxes is enough to give someone a headache and a good bout of anxiety. Here are some simple tips for every tax filer to help relieve some of the unwanted stress and hopefully make the process a little easier.
1. STAY ORGANIZED:
This is the easiest way to minimize stress and the hassle of preparing taxes. During the year, keep your updated records of receipts, payments and expenses saved, documented and in easily accessible files. The last thing you want to do is search through a bunch of paperwork to find what’s missing.
2. FILE EARLY AND DO YOUR TAXES IN LITTLE PIECES:
Procrastinating only causes more stress when they come due. Set aside time a few nights a week and work on them, smaller bites at a time. Maybe play a little music in the background to relax you too.
3. ELIMINATE DISTRACTION:
When you set aside the time to work on your taxes, make sure this is your only focus. Don’t sit on the couch with the television on and snacks in front of you. Go to a quiet room or office. You need to be 100% focused on what you’re doing.
4. GO PAPERLESS:
Keeping records of your receipts, payments and expenses electronically is remarkably easier to organize than analog records. Plus, this can also help to speed up the process of categorizing expenses for itemized deductions.
5. USE THE HELP AVAILABLE TO YOU:
There are plenty of resources available to help you with your taxes. The IRS’ website lets you download all the necessary forms that you may need. The website is also a great place to stay up to date with any recent tax changes. The IRS also has a toll-free hotline that you can call for questions and assistance.
Tax filing software and apps are also very useful. The IRS offers Federal Tax returns online for free for those who earn an income of less than $72,000/annually. Other websites, software and apps are also available for free or charge a filing fee. Do some research ahead of time to find what best fits your needs.
6. TAKE A BREAK WHEN YOU GET FRUSTRATED:
Step away, clear your head. Maybe go for a walk, or do a brief exercise, something that will help you relax and re-gain your focus. When to take a break, your brain has time to rest and it retains more information.
7. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL:
How many of us really have the time to keep up or even understand the current tax codes? Even if you do use tax software, do you still know which figures to enter or where they even go? Tax professionals can handle all of that on your behalf.
1,4 -- SignEasy
2 -- WebMD
3,5,7 -- Andrew Jones CPA
6 – Surgent Income Tax School