Tax season is many things to many people — particularly their accounts. But one thing you rarely hear tax season called is “easy.”
A recent article is hoping to make the season a little easier.1 Here are a few of the things that you can draw inspiration from.
One way to make it easier on yourself is by gathering all the necessary documents as a starting point. From the W-2 that you get from an employer, to the 1099s that you can receive for various forms of income to your mortgage interest statement, there are a lot of important documents that you’ll need to complete your taxes. By gathering all those documents before you get started, you make it easier to walk through the entire process.
Depending on if you use an online tax preparation service or a tax professional to help you, it’s possible to get into the tax process without realizing that you don’t have some of the forms you need. That can be a real pain.
Looking at your return from last year can be a good starting point to ensure that you have all the documents that you need. A lot can certainly change from one year to the next, but you can gain some insight about what you’ll need for your taxes this year by looking back at what you needed last year.
And speaking of changes from one year to the next — as with all financial matters, it can be a good idea to visit with a financial services professional that can help you make educated decisions.
Opinions vary greatly regarding tax season because some people think of it as a time when they get a boost on their bottom line and other people dread it as a time of year when they often end up paying in a chunk of money. But there’s one way that it can be very important: By serving as a financial benchmark, of sorts.
As the old saying goes, death and taxes are the only certainties in life. And, as an offshoot of that, tax season is also a certainty. You know that it’s going to come every spring. So, if you take time to view it
as a benchmark, or a milestone, where you take a step back and look at your entire financial picture, it can be very valuable regardless of if you end up getting money back or paying in.
When you take that approach, tax time doesn’t have to be just about taxes. Make no mistake, it will be about taxes, too, and that’s necessitated by the federal government. But no one will be requiring you to take a look at your financial picture every April. If you use it as a reminder to chat with your financial services professional, or to talk to a new one, you can make sure you’re not neglecting your retirement strategy.
And any built-in reminder to re-evaluate your retirement strategy is a good one.