One of the best ways to ensure high stress in April is to forget about tax season right now. You have the ability to put yourself in the driver’s seat for next year, but only if you take the opportunity seriously.
Here is your checklist of how to prepare for tax season next year.
Get your records together
Part of the reason that you spend so much time on your taxes in the second week of April is because you do not keep your records together now. You have to transfer all of your expenses from receipts to a spreadsheet program, or you have to waste time dealing with other forms of organization that you could get away from easily. All you have to do is get into a pattern of organizing each expense as you make it.
Make it a point to start now with your record-keeping activities. Get a folder for all of your receipts so that you will know exactly where they go. This is much easier than trying to read the faded ink of your receipts months later.
Get the right help
If you know that you are not good at keeping records and receipts for yourself, get the right help for your taxes early. There are many services that will help you keep records as you make them so that you do not have to spend April of next year trying to find all of your receipts.
These services provide outsourced accounting features that might be hard to come by in your standard tax software. For example, TempCFO Accounting manages all of the financials as a regular CFO or bookkeeper would do, making sure it’s done professionally.
Keep in mind that the final responsibility for all of your records is yours, no matter who takes on the responsibility of putting your records into a spreadsheet. You will always have to double check behind any recordkeeper that you employ. However, this is usually a much easier thing to do than making the records yourself.
Get your estimated payments together
If you know that you will be responsible for estimated payments, include this into your expenses from the very beginning of the year. Many people try to convince themselves that quarterly payments are some kind of surprise. You know they are coming. This should be a bill that you pay just like your lights and other utilities.
If you can maintain the discipline to ensure that your estimated payments are paid on time, you can avoid the extra scrutiny that comes for people who do not pay it. These are usually the people who get calls from government agencies, and then the rest of their record-keeping is up for examination as well.
Get the rule book
Unless there is some kind of political upheaval, you will always be able to determine the rule set for taxes much earlier in the year. Look over the tools yourself so that you will be able to assist any professional that you hire. Because you have final responsibility for everything that happens with your taxes, this is always a good move to make.
Make sure that you keep some money aside for a lawyer and an accountant in case something happens with your records during the year. It will always be better for you if you have people who can help you understand the rulebook on retainer.
The above best practices will definitely help to keep you out of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service and state revenue agencies. Follow these tips to make sure that your business and your life run smoothly, regardless of how complex the tax law may seem that year. Taxes do not have to get in the way of a good life, especially if you take the time to get your strategy together right now!