As the new year progresses, we approach tax season. For a lot of us broke bois, taxes make us uncomfortable and we procrastinate getting them done.
It’s one of the most adult things you can do, and chances are you follow in your parents or older relatives’ footsteps when getting them done.
It might be a blur, for those who got them done for the first time last year. You met up with a notary? A tax expert? You went to an office and brought your W-2, but probably still needed another doc.
Then you went to go get it, came back and just answered a question here and there and signed some paperwork, paid around $100 and went on your way awaiting your return.
While we all feel uneasy with tax season, here are some pointers on how to lighten that burden:
Take a look at last year’s tax docs
Chances are that you have a folder with a copy of last year’s taxes. Taxes seldom change in the grand scheme of things.
So have a look. Follow the lines and compare the numbers to last year’s W2 (the doc you get from an employer), or if you’re self-employed your 1099 Tax Form. Those numbers are punched into each required category, and the boxes tell you what math you need to do.
Now, you don’t have to go ahead and fill out this year’s taxes yourself, but it helps to face your fears of confusing looking paperwork.
Find a tax preparing place
Some spots are in-person walk-ins or by appointments, others assist you in filing yourself. All of them are free if you make under $64k.
Try Online Tax prep
The internet makes nearly all things convenient.
Tax prep is no exception. If you’ve got a W2 and no other streams of income, you can get away with the free version of TurboTax. If you have several different types of income such as income from liquidating stocks, even from jury duty, you’ll probably have to pay $80-$100.
Plus if you do it with TurboTax they save most of your info for next year’s return.
Gather your documents ahead of time
You’ll probably need the same docs you needed last year, so have those ready. If things have changed, it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared.
If you keep your receipts as a freelancer/self-employed individual make sure you go through those and identify the ones that helped pay for your employment/business. This includes supplies, advertising, travel.
If it was vital to the business there’s a chance you can get it deducted from your taxable income. If you sold stocks, you want to get those tax documents from your broker, or app or website.
They usually make them available by the end of February.
Anxiety or laziness can cause you to procrastinate until late March. But if you wait that long you probably won’t make the best decisions. You might need to rush to see that tax professional, or you might miss a few deductions you have a right to.
So as soon as you have your documents ready, FILE. Because when you’re done with it, all you gotta wait on is that return. And everyone loves that tax return $$.