I don’t think anybody is excited for taxes, but being prepared can take a huge stress off of your back and allow you to focus on bigger issues. Here are some tips to get you started this tax season.

Organize All Your Paperwork

Before we prepare our taxes, I try to keep all of the paperwork we receive in the mail in one central location. It is quite stressful trying to hunt down a 1099 in our multi-floor place and I don’t want to miss a deduction or tax credit because I’m missing paperwork.

My recommendation is using a large manilla envelope to keep everything contained. Depending on how you’re going to file, it can serve as a drop box or a quick item to grab on your way to the tax preparer’s office.

Decide How You’re Going to File

There are several options to filing your taxes, each comes with their own advantages.

  • Do It Yourself – If you have a simple return to file or you just love to do the math, filing your taxes is a good option.
  • Tax Preparation Software – Whether online or desktop, filing your taxes with already designed software is a very popular option. The two popular ones in the United states are H&R Block TaxCut and Intuit’s TurboTax.
  • Tax Preparation Chain – H&R Block, Jackson and Hewitt, and Liberty Tax offer you thousands of locations in your neighborhood where you can bring in your documentation and have someone else prepare your taxes.
  • Independent Tax Preparer- If you prefer a more personalized experience, ask your friends and family who they would recommend to help with your taxes.

You have to do what is right for you, so look at all your options before making a decision.

Double-check with a Salary Tax Calculator

Whatever method you decide to go with, you should try and make sure that the figures you get make sense to you. After all your taxes are your responsibility. You could use a free salary calculator online to see if your paychecks have a proper amount of taxes withheld. It’ll give you an idea if you might be getting a refund or not.

Thoughts on Taxes

Is this your first time filing taxes? How are you filing your taxes this year? Did you get a refund last year?