Tax Forms – 5 Tips

December 24, 2009 by  Filed under: Taxes 

Tax forms of any kind are an often daunting task to complete. Get these 5 tips for better success when dealing with forms.

Planning First

Planning means determining what forms you need and what numbers will be needed to put all the forms together. Just take a stab at this. Realize that as you get into the form you will learn more. So the preliminary planning is just to get you going.

Organize Data

Pull your records together and see what you have to work with. Again, realize that as you begin putting the forms together there may be empty spots, information you don’t have. Don’t worry about it. Deal with it as you come to it.

A Line At A Time

Never have I read this tax preparation tip. Nobody taught it to me in accounting school. Nobody told me this on the job. However this observation really gets at the correct approach for dealing with form completion.

Take one line at a time.

Do not get distracted by the number of pages of instructions or forms or anything else for that matter. Just deal with one line at a time. Don’t go to the next line until you finish the line you’re working on.

Read The Instructions

Instructions tell you just exactly what to do. If the instructions are unclear, they usually tell you where to get further instructions. Most returns are simple and most instructions are too. Just be calm and read them, but only read instructions for the line you are currently working on. Reading more will only distract you and you may soon become lost.


Another helpful activity is scheduling. That means if a number on the tax return is derived by adding several numbers or doing some other calculation, then keep a paper in the file that shows that calculation. If you add several numbers and put the sum on a line of the return, then include a sheet of paper that has the calculation and a reference to the line on the return. That means you can easily see where every number on the return came from.


Once you have worked through the return, let it sit for a few days. Then you can go back through it with a fresh look and more easily catch mistakes or opportunities for improvement.

Completing tax forms of any kind goes easier with the right approach. Go at the forms with a calm plan and most any form gets completed without undue stress.

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