Mark Twain once said, “I shall never use profanity except in discussing house rent and taxes.” Expletives aside, paying taxes is stressful to everybody, no matter what specific financial situation one might find themselves in. Almost always met with frustration, stress, and scrambling, tax filing season is something that everyone dreads. The majority of the country waits until the last minute to call their accountant, schedule an appointment, gather all of their appropriate documentation, and then file their tax return. With dread and stress comes perpetual procrastination, and this is an issue across the board. Nevertheless, tax season still comes along every year and must be dealt with accordingly. Sure, the year is almost over, but there are still a number of things that you can begin to do now to prepare.
With the objective of removing as much stress and last minute scrambling as possible, keep the following tax preparation tips in mind for a smooth tax filing season:
- Get organized, now. Begin to gather your relevant supporting documents today so that you’re not rushing to do so in a few months. From receipts to last year’s 2016 tax return, keep an organized file folder of all of your tax-related paperwork.
- Be sure to renew your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you have one. Doing that early will allow you to maintain important tax benefits and avoid a delay in your refund.
- Consider the e-file option for your 2017 tax return. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), nearly 90 percent of all returns are electronically filed. Electronically filing is a great solution for some of the more straightforward tax returns.
- Think about whether or not to itemize. Standard deductions or itemized deductions can make a huge difference in how you will file. What about bunching? The concept of taking qualified expenses together in a bunch is a strategy in dealing with meeting the minimum threshold.
- Keep track of all charitable donations. Far too many people neglect to keep documentation on these types of expenditures. Even things like organization dues can be considered tax deductions.
- Maintain and track your business expenses. Small business and start-up companies often forget to keep a careful record of business expenses. Be sure to save all receipts in a way that is organized and useful to you and your company.
Last but certainly not least, everyone should keep a steady eye on the tax calendar. From quarterly tax payments to yearly filings, make sure that your personal and business calendars incorporate important tax deadlines and dates. For instance, do you file your income tax return for a fiscal year or for the calendar year? Keeping these things in mind is critical, as you may need to change some of the dates in the tax calendar provided by the IRS. At Ellrich, Neal, Smith & Stohlman, P.A., our tax services include the preparation of federal and state income tax returns for all business, not-for-profit organizations, and personal entities including individuals, estates, trusts, partnerships and corporations as well as business and individual tax planning and consulting. Contact us today to learn more!