Tax season typically ends with Tax Day on April 15, though some years this deadline gets extended by a few days. Whether you’re filing taxes for your business or just for yourself, adding another to-do to your busy schedule can be overwhelming. But with some strategic planning and helpful tools, you can avoid feeling the stress.
Here are 5 helpful tips for an easier and less stressful tax season.
1. Start Your Tax Prep Early
It may seem like great news when the tax deadline is extended, but it doesn’t mean you’re any less busy. Planning ahead for tax season has multiple benefits. Besides having the peace of mind that it’s one less item on your to-do list, you could avoid costly tax penalties.
According to the IRS, the penalty for filing taxes late can be as high as 25% of your total unpaid tax bill. Don’t let that be you. Start now! Set aside a bit of time each day from now until the deadline to gather and organize your tax paperwork. You can also use this handy tax checklist to help you prepare for tax season.
2. Get Organized
According to an IDC Research Study, businesses lose 7% of their productivity searching for and recreating lost documents, while finding a single lost document can cost a company an average of $122, according to PWC. So it’s time to get organized.
Create labeled folders for all types of tax documents, including both hard copy files and files on your computer: Business Expenses, W-2 Forms, Charitable Donations, and more.
Even beyond this year’s Tax Day, get into the habit of categorizing files immediately. A year’s worth of paperwork can add up, so the sooner you start organizing, the easier your tax filing will be in the future.
3. Consult a Tax Professional
Tax rules change and become more complicated every year. The US federal tax code was 74,608 pages this time last year, according to the Washington Examiner. That’s a lot of technical jargon to read, let alone follow.
This explains why the average small business professional spends 24 hours preparing and filing their own tax returns, according to investing experts at The Motley Fool.
Consulting a tax professional can help you make the most of tax season while keeping your sanity and saving tons of time.
4. Use an E-File Service
Using an e-file service can save you time and ensure the entire process is completed sooner than filing by mail.
The IRS itself acknowledged in a press announcement that choosing its e-file and direct-deposit systems is the “fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund.”
5. Use eFax to Do More Than Fax
There’s more to eFax® than being able to easily send a fax by email. With eFax, you can sign tax documents right from your smartphone using the free eFax mobile app. You can also categorize faxes with keywords like "W-2" and "Insurance" and keep records of your faxes for the life of your account.
As Tax Day approaches, put these five helpful tips to use so you can streamline your tax preparation and head into Tax Day confidently.
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