You’ve likely already signed, sealed, and delivered your tax returns to the post office — and if you haven’t, you’d better look at the calendar! Now is the time to start thinking about how to make next year’s tax season easier on you.
For me, tax time always brings about memories of my late 20s. I was recently married, and my ex-husband and I used to do our taxes ourselves. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to get my act together every year, only to find out that my husband hadn’t even begun gathering all of his documentation — which was nothing to sneeze at, considering that he was self-employed. It was a yearly tradition: the rush against time every April 15th, filled with action and Formula 1 speeds. The long lines at the Post Office, the craziness, the stress, the police directing traffic…I can picture it right now…and it went on like that for years.
Since it is almost April, implementing any of the tips below could still save you some gray hairs next year.
- Do a little every day. Just like you put dishes in the dishwasher, scan your receipts weekly — or else they’ll take hours to do.
- Get accounting software. TurboTax, Quicken, Quickbooks, and Mint are popular and capable computer-based accounting solutions.
- Get an accountant. The tax code should not be trifled with. Odds are you will recoup the money you spend on tax preparation with the money you save by having a professional do it.
- Get help when you need it. Not everyone has the time to be a DIY bookkeeper — and if you have that kind of time you should be enjoying it, anyway.