Helpful Tips for Preparing to File Your Taxes

February 18, 2012 by  Filed under: Taxes 

Tax season can be a time of great emotional and financial stress. Make this tax season as painless as possible by making preparations before you file your taxes.

Although the prospect of filing taxes makes a lot of people groan, it’s something that we all have to do. If you want to be certain that you don’t end up with late fees or penalties on your tax bill this year, you should make every effort to get your taxes filed as soon as possible. Once your taxes are complete, you can breathe a little easier, and you may even be able to look forward to a refund.

Stop the Procrastination

One of the things that often gets people into trouble with the IRS is putting off doing their taxes. If you wait too long and do not file your taxes on time, you may find yourself needing the services of a tax attorney before long. If you want to make sure that you don’t have to rely on a tax attorney to help you get out of trouble with the IRS, you should leave yourself enough time to file your taxes and review them carefully before that April deadline rolls around. Make it a priority to get started on your taxes as soon as possible this year.

Go Through Past Returns

One of the best ways for you to prepare to file your taxes is to look through past returns. If your situation has not changed since you filed last time, then you’ll be able to get some guidance from these returns. If you do not have past returns to draw on, it may be because you have not yet filed them. When you owe back taxes, then there’s even more of a reason for you to get on the ball and get the tax process started. When you don’t file tax returns for a given year, you’ll end up paying out a lot of money in late fees and interest. The sooner that you get your situation sorted out and your back taxes paid, the better off you will be financially.

Consult a Professional

If your situation has changed since you last filed taxes, you may need to use another form or there may be deductions that you aren’t aware of. While you can find a lot of information directly on the IRS Web site, it may be a good idea to speak to someone at an accounting firm or to another tax professional. A tax consultant may be able to help you find deductions that you weren’t even aware of, and you could end up getting a much better return this year. If you want to retain control of your tax return, however, you don’t have to let a professional complete the entire process for you. An accounting firm may simply offer you advice for a fee.

Penny Jones is a money management pro and a senior Internet marketer for Prospect Genius, a leader in local online advertising.

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