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Tax Preparation Made Easy

Here are 4 easy steps I wanted to share with you for making it easy to have your 2016 taxes prepared:

1. Gather your forms.  Be sure you know where your W-2, 1099, 1098 and other forms are.  It’s also important to understand what forms you will use to prepare your taxes or have others prepare them.  Search www.irs.gov for information on the proper forms to use based on your circumstances. I think it’s important that you are engaged in this process, rather than just handing a shoebox full of receipts and other papers to the tax preparer to sort through. In my experience this professional certainly won’t be happy with you and may even charge you extra. Seriously, organize your information and know for yourself what your income and expenses are so you are educated.  Sandy Botkin, a well known tax attorney and CPA, says, “The seven most expensive words are ‘My tax accountant takes care of my taxes.’”   Stay in control of your own finances, money and taxes.  It could be worth as much as $2,000 each year. 

2. Decide how you should file.  Tax software is available and of course professionals can help. Search online to get help on how to prepare your taxes.  If your taxes are simple and you have no business activities recorded, then it can be inexpensive to hire someone rather than doing it yourself.  I have always prepared my own returns, then I hire a professional to check what I have done. This has been the most cost efficient method for me as it saves on the hourly rate paid a professional to do your taxes. Plus, I have always found that using a professional improves my situation and I make the necessary changes for the following year.

3. Determine when to file.  This year, April 18 is the tax filing deadline.  If you file early, you still have time to pay any balance owed up and until April 18.  Remember that when you extend your tax filing, it doesn’t extend your need to pay.   All money owed needs to be paid by April 18 or you will have to work out a payment plan with the IRS and this will cost you extra money in interest and penalties.  

4. Get organized for next year. Since you just finished preparing your 2016 returns, you learned some things about your organization.  Identify those helpful items for next year and implement them now.  As the years come and go you will get better and better at being organized.  

For more information on how to pay the proper amount of taxes, contact me: peter@moneymastery.com.

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