Need Help with Tax Season Prep? Try these 5 Simple Steps!

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We are partnering with Block Advisors to bring you this important discussion on tax preparation today: 

Are you completely organized at tax time?  If so, I totally envy you!

All too often, I’ve found myself scrambling at the last minute to find the paperwork I need to complete our taxes, leaving me frazzled and definitely in a race against time to submit them before the deadline.  Over the years, I’ve gotten better at keeping file folders on hand to stash tax paperwork when it arrives and spreadsheets to keep track of important information, but I admit I still have plenty of room for improvement.

Need Help with Tax Season Prep? Try these 5 Simple Steps!

The one thing I’ve learned is it certainly makes my life (and tax time) a whole lot smoother when I am more prepared.  Even though we are already quickly approaching tax filing deadlines, it’s not too late to prepare for the tax season.  Try any (or all) of these five simple steps today to help ease the stress and ensure you are prepared for tax season.

Start a file system right now.  Set up a few plain manila folders, an accordion file or simply designate a safe spot for your tax-related forms and receipts today.  Gather together everything you can file them accordingly in the proper spot.  This will prevent you from scrambling for information and give you a spot to secure additional documentation as you receive it in the mail, print it or find it buried under your monthly stack of magazines.  Be sure to include:

  • W-2 forms
  • 1099 forms
  • receipts for work-related expenses
  • donation  receipts
  • vehicle registration certificates
  • property taxes
  • student loan interest statements
  • mortgage interest statements

Review your information.  Take a quick look through your forms to make sure everything is correct.  If you find an error on any of your paperwork, address it immediately to ensure you have a corrected version in hand by the time you need to file.  If you married recently or had a new child, be sure your social security information is up-to-date, too, and fix it immediately if not so that you have everything in order before you file.

Make a list of your income sources. Double-check to make sure you have a W-2 or 1099 (or other paperwork if applicable) for each income source.  If you do not, follow up by email or phone today to find out where it is and when to expect it.  If you moved within the last year, it’s common to find paperwork is still sitting at your old employer as they do not have your new address information.

Get support! Tax time can befuddle the best of us, but there’s no reason you have to go it alone.  It pays to get expert help from sources like the Block Advisors.  Tax preparation is different for everyone and for many, it’s not a one day event either. Block Advisors are year-round dedicated tax partners that offer tax preparation and tax planning experience.  They’ll help answer your questions and plan for the future to ensure you have all your accounting needs and tax preparation in order and working to your best advantage.  There are over 280 Block Advisor offices across the country, you can find your local Block Advisor HERE to make an appointment today.

Set reminders.  Use your Google Calendar, print calendar, cell phone reminders or any other method you normally use to remind yourself of important events to set reminders.  Set reminders weekly to check your paperwork and to remind yourself to put new paperwork in the correct filing spot you’ve designated.  Set a reminder for your tax preparation appointments with your Block Advisor.  Set a reminder for the cut off for tax filing and any other important meetings or activities you need to do in the interim.  Setting alarms and reminders helps us to alleviate stress as you have a built-in back-up plan to help keep you on track.

Just a few simple steps can help you prevent oodles of heartache and stress during tax time.  Be sure to take the time to do yourself a huge favor by preparing for your tax filing today!

Do you have tips to share that help you stay organized and prepared for the tax season?  

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an author and sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky. When she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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    • Kathleen Kennedy-Leon
    • March 1, 2016

    Throughout the year, I enter my donations into a spreadsheet -so I don’t have to scramble at the end of the year to do it. I also keep all the electronic reciepts in a special folder by year to stay oranized

    • valmg @ Mom Knows It All
    • March 2, 2016

    Yes, your first step is the most important one. Keep your documents organized! If you’ve never had a system put one in place today.

    • Erika
    • March 2, 2016

    This is such a stressful time of year. These are great tips to help stay prepared.

    • parentingpatch
    • March 2, 2016

    My hubby does our taxes. I keep track of all my income and expenses on a spreadsheet to help him out.

    • Kristi
    • March 2, 2016

    Each year I get a little more organized. This year everything is in a folder right near our computer, and I didn’t have to scramble and hunt around the house for anything.

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