6. FILING STATUS – Did you get married this past year? How about have a baby? Or maybe you had a kiddo leave the nest this year. Regardless, know that these types of life events affect your taxes.
7. FILE ON TIME – Assuming you’re not filing for an extension, make sure you file on time! Lines can be L-O-N-G at the post office. Electronic systems can get overwhelmed. In short…don’t procrastinate to the point of missing the deadline. That’s one of those things the IRS tends to frown upon. J
8. EXTENSIONS – If it’s looking like an extension will be needed – due to things being more complex than anticipated, etc – make sure you fill out and submit the appropriate form. Granted, you’ll have to make a payment equal to your estimate of what’s owed, but filing for an extension will allow you to not incur any penalties (for a six month period of time) while you’re getting things sorted out.
9. PAYING IN – What happens if you get done with your taxes only to discover that you have to (gulp) pay in more money? If you don’t have the cash readily available, you’ll want to have your taxes done in enough time (the earlier the better) to figure out a strategy for making that payment. For instance – say you have your taxes done by February 15th and, at that point in time, discover that you owe the IRS money. Having your taxes done early allows for a bit of wiggle room in terms of figuring out how you’re going to accomplish that goal – like finding a part-time job, selling a few unused items on Craigslist or eBay. Granted, it’s not an ideal situation, but it’s infinitely easier than being hounded by the government for non-payment of taxes.
10. REFUND – Or, maybe you’ll get your taxes done and discover that you’re due a refund! This is another situation where it’s good to have a money plan – that way, when the extra cash comes in, you can be prepared to use it responsibly. Paying down debt, making home improvements, or finally having a down payment for a new vehicle may not be as spontaneous or thrilling as a spur of the moment trip to Vegas, but they can definitely be just as fulfilling…especially in the long run.
Hopefully these steps can help make your tax time a bit less stressful…for this year and beyond!