It’s Time for an Annual Tradition: Taxes!

Posted: Feb 15 2015

First we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, then we have New Year’s.   Once we’ve cleaned up all the party favors, food and glasses, then take our Christmas decorations down, we think we’re done.

But wait – don’t let out that sigh of relief just yet! Because, beginning some time in January, we turn our attention to gathering receipts, W-2s, 1099s, proof of our past year’s income and our tax forms. I don’t know about you, but I turn everything over to a qualified tax preparer. I do not have the knowledge I need of tax laws. I don’t have the confidence I need to fill out my taxes and know that I’ve entered everything correctly. I don’t want to be audited!

As I write this, I am waiting for my own 1099s to come in from each one of my clients so I can take them, along with the past year’s receipts to my tax preparer. She has done my taxes now for about 15 years.

I hope you filed everything where it belonged so that, when it’s time to haul everything out and get your work done, you’ll be able to do the work yourself or give everything to your accountant or tax preparer. If you have everything neatly organized, this person will be able to go through everything and get a good idea of what you paid, what you may be due back or what you may owe to the state and federal government (if your state taxes income).

Let’s talk about paper forms versus electronic forms and submission. A friend of my was determined that his taxes would only be submitted and mailed through snail mail. Until he began taking his taxes to my preparer. She was able to convince him that it’s much less risky to submit electronically. This way, far fewer people get their hands on his personal information, which means a much lower risk of identity theft. When he mailed his tax returns in the past, he was opening himself to the risk of people at several levels stealing his personal information – thankfully, that never happened that he is aware of.

Here’s another plus to electronic preparation – once the “submit” button is pressed, it (usually) takes less than one month for the return to be processed. This means your payment, if you owe, will be processed sooner. If you are due a refund, you’ll see it deposited electronically into your bank account much sooner than if you sent in a paper form.

Do you use tax preparation software and do your taxes this way? If so, you’ll be able to enter the numbers with some confidence that you’ll do the work correctly. Updates to the tax code are built into the software each year.

Okay, it’s time, everyone! Get off the couch, get into your filing cabinet or that shoe box and start organizing everything. The sooner you get everything done and submit your taxes, the sooner it won’t be looming over your head. (I know, it’s too easy to procrastinate when it comes to your taxes.) It’s really easy when you know you owe money to Tio Sam.

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