How to Survive the Dreaded Tax Season
I hate taxes as much as the next person. They are intimidating, confusing and always seems like they will take FOREVER. Have you said some of these things before?
“Doing my taxes always takes forever! I dread it!”
“I’m just not good at all of this math and accounting stuff.”
“I have no idea where all of the paperwork is! I feel overwhelmed and disorganized!”
“2020 was the worst and I am not even sure how to do taxes for that year. I just want to forget it!”
“I am afraid that I am going to have to pay so much money to the government!”
Do not allow fear to lead to inaction and procrastination.
Do not you allow your anxiety to spiral you into a total freeze.
You can do hard things!
If living through a pandemic has taught you anything it’s that you can make it through anything! Including another dreadful tax season.
To make my life easier, I do my taxes with TurboTax. I have been using them for years and they make doing taxes as painless as possible in my opinion. But whatever program or accountant you use, here are a few tips to make this tax season easier.
Tip 1: Figure out the how
How are you going to do your taxes this year? E-file, by mail, with an accountant? This is absolutely your choice and really depends on your personal situation. If you do not have an accountant to help you, I suggest you find one ASAP. If you are doing taxes by mail, be aware that mailing will be an additional cost. (A very large cost if you’re mailing from overseas.)
Tip 2: Organize all information needed
Make sure you have everything you will need to file your taxes seamlessly. Here are some things I needed when I did my taxes for 2020:
Normal things: last year’s tax return, student loan forms, dates of moves, births, etc.
Business related: business EIN, business expenses, invoices, income information, payment methods, mileage, etc.
Pandemic related: stimulus check amount and dates, unemployment amounts and dates, etc.
Tip 3: Focus and power through
It took me 3 hours to do our taxes this year and this was probably the most complicated tax application we have had so far due to self-employment, stimulus checks, moves, etc.
However, it is always easier and to just sit down and do it. As boring or confusing as it can be, power through it! Taking a break or coming back to it later will only feed into procrastination and postpone the unavoidable.
I got myself a drink, a snack, and tried to focus as much as possible. I mean, I did get on social media a couple times and answered a phone call; I am only human! But I had my husband to keep me accountable and high-five me when I was done. So that was helpful!
Tip 4: Prepare for next year NOW
While I am experiencing the pain of this tax season, I am making a list of things I need to do next year to make things easier.
1. Keep better track of my mileage – I was not able to get a tax cut in this area because I didn’t do a good job of keeping track of my driving for work.
2. Save the necessary documents beforehand (online) – I did a lot of clicking around and searching through bank statements this year and I wish I would have better prepared ahead of time.
3. Have physical documents all organized – I want a separate accordion folder with all tax documents; personal and business related. This time, since I was not home when I applied, I had to search my computer for a lot of things.
Tip 5: Celebrate!
Reward yourself for getting it done! Anything from a high-five to an elaborate plan for your tax return, make a plan to celebrate! The thought of the reward will keep you motivated and focused.
I hope this blog was helpful and encouraging! I really believe that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS and though this might seem silly, I run into so many people who are just overwhelmed and anxious about doing their taxes. It doesn't have to be this way! If you need help, have no shame in getting it!
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