If you clicked on this article, I’m sure you were dreading doing so. That question in the headline is something we all ask ourselves whenever the time arises to get our affairs in order. Of course, the simplest way to turn this event from a fear-inducing headache into a calming, manageable experience is to prepare today for the inevitable tomorrow.
There are steps you can take to personally plan your taxes.
There’s a lot you could be doing right now to get your financial information together and ensure you’re protected against any future surprises. Before you enlist professional help, there’s a lot you could be doing to help yourself.
Yes, it’s stressful, but it’s very easy to put yourself in a tricky position by putting off tax preparation until the very end of tax season. By then, it might be too late to get your information, documents and affairs in order, meaning that you’ll be putting your individual or business finances in jeopardy and could be risking financial issues in the future.
Of course, the best way to be prepared is to sort out your taxes early on in the tax season. Filing your tax return becomes a whole heap easier when you’ve prepared for it well in advance. That way, if you come across any problems, you have ample time to come to a reasonable solution and ask expert advice on your next financial steps as an individual, or in terms of the whole business.
So, where do you begin?
Well, early on in the tax season, it’s hard to predict your overall income. Any number of unforeseeable events could arise, especially if you work on a freelance or a self-employed contract. However, even if this isn’t the case and you already know exactly how much you’re on track to earn this season, most tax forms won’t yet be available and, in addition to that, the IRS won’t even accept a completed tax return at this date.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t prepare by analysing your tax returns for the previous year and seeing how your income fared when you filed for that tax season. Perhaps some investments worked out and others didn’t; perhaps you had to claim on certain elements such as student loan interest, or you benefitted from tax credits which may or may not still be applicable. The key here is assessing what your situation was like a year ago and whether it still applies today. What’s changed within your financial situation?
When should you ask for professional help?
Once you have a good grasp of your situation and the opportunity arises to finally start filling in forms and submitting your tax returns, it’s probably time to pass on the mantle. Rather than struggling by yourself, you really will benefit from an expert opinion on your returns and what to do with them. Take a break from the hard work on your end and relieve your tax burden with the finest in terms of tax experts.
Remember, tax returns are a burden, but they needn’t be. Do what you can and then enlist the help you need.