5 Ways to Prepare for Tax Time

It truly is a miracle how fast time flies by! It’s like we finish filing taxes and the year end is quickly upon us. While we still have a few more months until the year end, it will be here before you know it. Waiting until the deadline to file your tax return is a thing of the past. The CGS Team is sharing 5 ways you can prepare for tax time now, so you can file as early as possible. Getting your tax filings out of the way as quickly as possible opens the door for a faster refund. Who doesn’t want that?! Get ready to learn what it takes to prepare for tax time and always be an earlier filer.

#1 Get all of your documents organized

Nothing can push off on-time tax filing like being unorganized. If all of your documents are scattered all over the place, you will likely want to put off dealing with it. Instead of prolonging the inevitable, start by getting organized today. The best thing you could’ve done is stay organized throughout the year, but better late than never. Start by compiling all of your receipts, tallying your mileage, and setting up a folder for documents that may be needed come filing time.

#2 Review potential tax credits

Did you look for a job this year? Has your hobby turned into a side hustle? Depending on how your life has changed this past year, you may be eligible for tax credits and deductions that didn’t apply to you before. Freshen up your knowledge on some of the current tax credits and deductions to see which ones may apply for you. Read Tax Deductions to Take Advantage Of for a list of the most popular ones for young women. Also, if you moved, got married, or divorced, check out 6 Life Events that Trigger Taxes to see how your tax return may be impacted.

#3 Decide where you want to file

Will you be filing your own taxes via TurboTax? Do you think you need a CPA this year? If your situation has changed to include self-employed or business income, it may be wise to seek the guidance of a CPA. If you remained an employee and didn’t have other forms of income, TurboTax or other online filing service could save you time and money.

Even if your situation is slightly complex, you can still file through TurboTax. You will just want to make sure you aren’t missing anything. Nothing is worse than having to amend a tax return because you wanted to save a few bucks! For general guidelines on filing taxes yourself or with a CPA, check out Which Tax Preparer is Right for You.

#4 Set up a reminder to file

After you have organized everything, reviewed your potential tax credits and decided how you are going to file, you should put a reminder on your phone or calendar on the day you plan to file. If you have decided to use TurboTax or other online filing software, schedule out 2-5 hours (depending on the complexity of your situation) on a Saturday or Sunday to get your return knocked out.

If you are going to use a CPA or tax preparation company like H&R Block, put time on the calendar in December to call and have an appointment set up. Make sure you know exactly what you need to bring, so you don’t have to worry about last minute scrambling.

#5 Plan out your refund (or repayment)

Before filing, use the TurboTax TaxCaster to see what type of refund you will be getting. The TaxCaster will also let you know if you may have to pay money to the IRS. Having this information handy can allow you to plan what you will do with the money, or prepare for paying what you owe.  It’s important to take the results with a grain of salt. Things can change or the TaxCaster could miss something, so know that the results aren’t set in stone. Use the results to think about what financial goals you can accomplish with what may be coming.

Related: Prepping for Taxes

 

Filing for taxes can be a breeze if you prepare early enough. Follow the tips above to ensure a smooth filing season this upcoming year! Do you have any good or bad experiences with filing taxes? How do you file every year? Post a comment below to share some of your tax season tips with other CGS readers!

-The CGS Team

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