Preparing for taxes is something that many people put off until the last minute. That’s understandable, considering most people already have a lot on their plates. However, taking a moment to sharpen your approach to tax prep can make the experience smoother every year. Check out our checklist below to find three effective tips to make tax preparation easier.
Put Due Dates on the Calendar
You can make tax prep easier by making your relevant due dates part of your normal routine. The best way to start this is by using your physical or digital calendar to jot down tax deadlines, so you’re always aware of when they are. When those dates are on your schedule, you can refer to them at your leisure.
Certain critical dates will differ depending on some unique factors. For example, this year, the deadline for paying taxes is April 18th, 2023. Then, the due date for filing federal income tax is May 17th, 2023. However, if you’re an ex-pat who has moved out of the US, then June 15th, 2023, is your filing deadline.
Never Overlook Extensions
One of the best tax preparation tips is to learn more about extensions, so let’s break down why you would need one. Luckily, there isn’t a complicated reason behind extensions. If it’s getting close to April and you need more time to file taxes without rushing, then you can earn an extension. If you try to rush through the tax filing process, you run the risk of making avoidable errors, so don’t hesitate to take more time.
You can earn the extension by filing Form 4868. Once you complete that form, the extension will occur automatically, and you can start tax prep at your pace. The extension pushes your filing deadline to October 16th.
Remember—paying your taxes and filing them are two different things. Filing means completing and sending in the proper paperwork, whereas paying involves exchanging your money to pay taxes. An extension does not permit you to not pay on time; it simply grants you permission to file later.
Work With a Personal Accountant
A certified public accountant (CPA) can offer various services, but all typically bring a more detail-oriented approach to filing. For instance, a CPA can help you discover deductions to reduce your amount of taxable income, such as the mortgage interest deduction. People are often unaware of what deductions they qualify for, so working with a CPA will help you save the most money during tax season.
Plus, experts specializing in tax prep can take any financial calculations off your plate. While the experts focus on the math, you can focus on anything else. Just gather the things you will need to bring to a tax appointment with your CPA—such as social security numbers, W-2s, and other personal information. With that information, your CPA will do the rest of the work.