Stressed About Your Taxes? Try These Tips

March 10, 2017

Feeling the stress as tax season approaches? You’re not alone. During this time of year, many Americans feel the crunch as April 15 gets closer. That’s especially true if you’re preparing your own return. While tax software can help, the output from those programs is usually only as good as your input.

Not to worry, though. There are some steps you can take to reduce your anxiety. With some careful planning, you can increase your preparedness and decrease the amount of time you’ll spend filing your return. Below are a few steps you can take to help reduce your stress level this tax season:

Get all your tax materials together as soon as possible.

There’s no time like the present. The sooner you start collecting the necessary documents, the more prepared you’ll be. Some common documents that you should be on the lookout for include things like earnings statements from employers, bank account statements, investment account documentation and statements regarding deductible debt, like mortgages.

Ideally, you should have everything you need by the early part of the year. However, it’s possible some statements may be delayed or even lost in the mail. It might be a good idea to make a list of everything you need. That way you can call your account administrators to request anything that you’re missing.

Determine if you need help.

Once you have all your documents together, you should then decide if you need help filing your return. It’s possible that you have a complicated tax situation. Maybe you own your own business or recently went through a divorce. These types of situations can present unique challenges.

Even if you don’t have a complex return, you might simply feel uncomfortable doing your own taxes. There’s nothing wrong with that. The bottom line is to not be afraid to ask for help. If you think you’ll have trouble, it’s better to seek professional advice than trying to wing it.

Look over your expenditures.

It’s never a bad idea to review how much money you spend and where you’re spending it. But during tax season, reviewing your spending could actually save you money.

There are a number of different expenses that could qualify for deductions. For example, certain types of costs for child care, medical care and even some home improvements could be considered deductible. Talking to a tax professional can help you determine what you can and cannot deduct.

Make sure you look into all your deduction options.

Even though it’s a new year, there are still things you might be able to deduct from your taxes. There are certain things you can claim all the way up to April 15. For instance, you may still be able to make contributions to a traditional IRA or a health savings account (HSA) and deduct those from your taxes. You don’t want to leave money on the table, so make sure you have all your bases covered.

Need help organizing your financial picture as you prepare for tax season? Let’s talk about it. Contact us at Grand Canyon Planning Associates. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.