Tax season is coming up fast, and you’re not sure how to start your return this year. You’d like to be able to do it yourself or find help quickly and easily—but can’t seem to get organized enough.
Ultimately, your goal is to ensure that filing doesn’t take too much time, energy, or money . . . and that the government approves your return. There is no need to get anxious about all the tax forms you have to file. These days, there are a number of solutions for painlessly completing your taxes.
Here are some ways you can go about compiling and filing your return this tax season:
Research Tax Rules and Deductions
You need to understand what you can claim to maximize your return amount (or at least decrease how much you owe the government). To learn of the best practices for when it comes to correctly filling out your tax forms, read J. K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2017. The book provides more than 2,500 tax-saving tips, advice on figuring out your deductions, and information about how tax law has changed since last year.
Use Accounting Software
If you’re ready to do your taxes on your own, pull up a chair, brew yourself a cup of nutty, sweet Moose Munch Coffee from Harry & David to stay energized, and download or purchase some tax-filing software.
Fortunately, TurboTax offers a free edition for simple returns and first-time filers. If you’ve tried the program before and enjoyed the way it helped you navigate the filing process, you can purchase TurboTax Premier and use the software to complete your Federal and State returns for years to come. The best part about using a computer to file online? There are no pesky tax forms to fill out by hand.
Go to a Professional
Another option is to see a certified public accountant with a private firm or a service provider like H&R Block. Just make sure that you take everything you need with you to your first appointment. Otherwise, you will have to make a few trips back and forth, which will add to your stress. To keep all of your tax forms together and organized, place them in a Multipurpose Bag Expanding File Folder by Lightahead with color-coded tabs for each category.
You’ll need to bring your W-2, receipts for business expenses, a list of said expenses, proof of charitable donations, and your routing and checking numbers if you plan to pay the government through your bank account. You should also put together a list of taxes you’ve paid, any other money source you receive (like alimony or child support), and personal expenses you think that may qualify. Bringing last year’s tax return could help as well.
Securely Pay Your Taxes
Once you’re done filing, you might find out that you owe money to the government. Of course, you don’t want to send a check to the IRS in the mail. It might get lost, and it’s not often the safest solution. Instead, pay your taxes with Masterpass on Pay1040.com. The secure website makes it easy and affordable—with a low fixed fee for debit cards and a convenience fee for credit cards.
Then, when you’re finally done with your taxes, fill up a glass of wine poured from Harry & David’s Pinot Noir Trio and invite a friend over to celebrate. Until next tax season, you’re off the hook.