It’s a new year and you’ve got a list of business goals that you’re ready to tackle. Not so fast though – you’ve got to prep & file income taxes! Maybe you’re ahead of the game and spent the last quarter of 2018 pulling it all together, or maybe you’re a tax expert and you’ve been following a plan and keeping things in order over the course of the whole year.
But honestly, most people fall into the third camp – the “oh yeah, I’ve got to get the tax stuff ready” group. So make things easy when it comes to the prep & file income taxes task. Here are our top tips and you can follow the link to grab a checklist (prepared by an actual accountant) so you can fast track your to dos.
Tips for Filing & Prepping Your Income Taxes
- pull out a large envelope or file folder and put all the important stuff there – fast track for 2019 and put together a folder right now so you can stash stuff over the course of the year and be ahead of the game
- make a list and break it down into manageable chunks – there’s no reason to spend a whole day on it when you have other things to do. You can easily spend 5-10 minutes today and still get your taxes filed way before the deadline
- when it comes to filing – consider what it’s really going to take. Maybe you’ve got a bunch of questions, no budget to purchase the latest DIY tax filing software, and even less time to get it all done. Know how much time you have to commit to it, and then make a decision about how you’ll file – DIY, hire an accountant, visit a tax filing kiosk set up at a local business etc.
- Pull all the personal information that you’ll need to verify or provide in advance. Remember you’ll need full names, social security numbers, dependents, etc.
- keep an eye out for tax forms from your employer, bank accounts, charitable donations, student loans, mortgages, etc. You should receive them in the mail or electronically in the next several weeks
- take a few minutes to sit down and brainstorm any possible deductions for the year. If possible, find receipts or check bank statements so that you have accurate numbers and proof to provide to the IRS in case your audited
- make things a little bit more fun – turn on some music, work alongside a friend or family member, have your favorite snack or beverage so that prepping & filing for taxes isn’t such a chore
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.