Okay, now after the booing and hissing dies down you can continue reading.
- Don’t procrastinate: I know its hard to force yourself to do financial paperwork, especially if you are worried that you may owe. The sooner you do it the sooner you get it off your to do list, or even better, get your refund! Towards the end of the year start to get your paperwork together so that when you do receive your W2’s you are all set to do your returns. Also keep in mind that you may not receive tax records until the end of January from other income aside from your main employer such as court settlements, support, side jobs, and so on. So make sure you have all of the paperwork that you need before starting to file your return.
- Hire someone or DIY: Decide if you are going to do it yourself or have someone do it for you. Use your taxes from last year as a reference point to get a feel for what your numbers will be as well as how complicated the paperwork will be for this year. If you are going to have them done by a tax professional make your appointment early. I like to call to make an appointment early in January but schedule it for early February so that I allow myself time to get my paperwork in the mail. It only takes under an hour to run your numbers through the free version of turbotax so that you have some idea of where you are with a refund of what you can expect to owe before either submitting them yourself or going to a tax professional. Often H&R block will have a period early on in the tax season when they will offer free services for simple single W2 filings, so that may be an option that you want to explore. Make sure you are informed before you submit your final forms to the IRS or State. A few extra steps in the beginning can save you from having to process more paperwork, or worse re-file later on.
- Keep good records: Beginning now, keep a folder for receipts so that you can keep track of expenses. Also make a note in your smart phone and type how much you spend, on what, and the date. That way you have hard copies in a file and also a secondary account of your expenditures. Start a folder for your taxes that includes a copy of your final 1040, any attached schedule forms, your expense sheet, state form, and filing receipt. If you do decide to keep these hard copies of your taxes around be sure to black out your social security number so it’s not around on paperwork. Record keeping is important because an audit could result in a need to provide for several years back, not just the year you are being audited for.
Remember if you want to know when are taxes due in 2017, the date is by April 18th.
You can still efile up to October 16th.
If you want to file an extension for the 2016 tax year you must file for that after March 2017.
If you are lucky enough to get a return this year why not spend it on something fun and exciting! After all that time inside preparing this paperwork in your home cubical; give yourself the gift of joy and happiness. Make this year one to remember by taking a tour with Sunnyday Scoot.
If you have started doing things early after reading this article feel free to take a Sunrise Tour and take your 3 wheel scooter up to the mountains of Griffith Park to see the sun come up over the LA skyline!