Tax time always seems to sneak up on us when we are busy worrying about other things. The good news is you get an extra two days to file this year. The bad news is, there is still never enough time to file, as far as busy professionals and business owners are concerned. Don’t let too much time pass before you get yourself organized for filing your taxes. Whether you owe money or you’ll be getting a rebate back, it is important to take the time to make sure all your financial ducks are in a row. Consider these helpful tax time tips to get you off on the right foot when it comes to filing your taxes this year.
Andrea Woroch, consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., shares the following tax season tips to help you get the most out of your tax filing experience, from deductions to how to spend your refund (here’s to hoping we all get one!).
1. Identify Your Deductions.
“Before you start number crunching, be sure you know what expenses to write off; you don’t want to miss out on a single tax-deductable expense,” Woroch says. “The list is quite long, so take the time to read it thoroughly and highlight anything that applies to you. You can find the Top 500 Itemized Deductions on the IRS website.”
2. Organize, Organize, Organize.
Andrea Woroch recommends organizing your receipts and other documentation by category to make it easier when filing. This can make the entire process easier when you go to document everything from business lunches to corporate travel and office supplies, among countless other tax deductible expenses.
3. Keep Track of Your W2s.
According to federal law, employers must send W2s to their employees no later than the last day of January each year. In cases where you can’t find or didn’t receive your W2, Woroch recommends contacting your company’s HR department or your supervisor immediately to ensure you get a new copy. She then recommends filing immediately once you receive the W2.
4. Find Discounts for Software.
If you plan to prepare your own taxes rather than enlisting the help of a tax pro, be sure you have the right tax software geared up and ready to go. You can find great deals on tax software and even tax preparation services at deal and discount websites like CouponSherpa.com, CouponSnapshot.com, and Retailmenot.com.
5. Save on Professional Help.
Sometimes you can find discounts for professional tax help as well. If you own your own business, it may behoove you to engage a tax pro to file your taxes. This can often reduce the chances of an audit. Keep watch for discounts on tax services during the beginning of the year to help you save money on taxes, and don’t forget to deduct the cost of filing with your tax pro if you are a business entity.
6. Analyze Your Refund.
“It’s tough to compete with the glee of receiving a hefty tax return, but not owing anything to the IRS is the sweetest gift of all,” says Woroch. “If your withholdings are too high, you’re missing out on monthly income. If they’re too low, you’re living the high life until an abrupt wake-up call on April 15. Ultimately, you want to break even with Uncle Sam, so use the IRS Withholding Calculator to determine the optimal deduction from your paycheck.”
7. Spend Your Refunds Wisely.
Some of the top ways to spend your tax time refund may include paying down debt, saving for a rainy day, donating to charity, and adding to your emergency nest egg. You may want to spend the money on vacation or a special purchase for yourself – just be sure the rest of your finances are in order before doing so.
What other tax time tips and suggestions do you have to share? Please leave a comment with your favorite tax tip or advice to help all of our readers get ready to file their taxes.
About the Expert:
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. For more information, please see http://www.andreaworoch.com.