Tax Time

Tips to Get You Out of the Tax Time Crunch

By Bob Sadowski, APR, Public Relations & Social Media Manager, ACCO Brands

It may be late in the game, but the cold, hard facts are these: Tax day is less than a week away, and if you’ve yet to file your return, you’re not alone in the procrastination pool.

While that’s not necessarily a comforting thought, it’s not uncommon for many Americans to wait until the last minute to file their taxes. If you’ve procrastinated this long, panic is certain to be setting in. But all hope is not lost—with a little planning and organization, you can get your return in under-the-wire. Here’s how:

  • Schedule a half-hour to one-hour meeting each night to work on taxes only. It’s much easier to complete your tax preparation in small, manageable chunks. Plus, it helps to keep you from feeling too overwhelmed.
  • Take advantage of the weekend. Sure, you’d rather be spending time on tasks around your home or enjoying a marathon of your favorite TV series, but procrastination is forcing the issue. Keep your priorities in order.
  • Create a checklist of all necessary tax documents. Also, make a to-do list of all the tasks you need to accomplish, such as compiling bank statements, mileage records, expense totals and so forth.
  • Start a folder and dedicate it as the sole destination for all your necessary tax-filing documents.
  • Gather your various receipts and quickly sort by expense type into letter-sized envelopes (e.g. health care, business, donations).
  • Create a single file or document with all important information for you and your family, including social security numbers and birthdays. This makes a great quick reference resource.
  • If you already can see that this year’s tax preparation is beyond your scope, call and schedule a meeting with a tax expert. Filing an extension may be necessary, even though it’s simply delaying the inevitable.
  • File your taxes. Consult professional tax advisors—in person or online—for any advice necessary. The IRS website (www.irs.gov) has a wealth of resources available to you as well, all free of charge.

Don’t let tax-time stress invade your life. Implement this plan today and take the steps needed to stop being a last-minute tax filer this year…and in the future.

For more tax document organization tips as well as insights on other planning and productivity topics, visit the AT-A-GLANCE Success Center.

[photo by danielmoyle]

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