Taxes may not be enjoyable, but they are inevitable. As Ben Franklin famously told us, “nothing is certain in this world besides death and taxes.” Taxes have also been in the news a lot lately. Politicians are arguing about them, businesses are lobbying for or against them, and certainly no one has been able to agree about them. However, these decisions regarding the tax code, while impactful, are outside our control for the most part. But, the inevitability of taxes year after year make it a necessity for us to find practical ways to make our own personal processes more efficient and maximize the benefits available to us. With that in mind here are some timeless tips to make your upcoming and future experiences filing your taxes smooth and enjoyable as possible:
- File Early: Filing early removes the stress of the deadline crunch. If you have complicated taxes it gives you leeway to deal with situations that need clarification as well as the opportunity to review and ensure you are receiving the maximum benefit. Filing early also significantly reduces the chances of having your identity stolen. During tax season, many fraudsters file bogus returns for individuals in an attempt to receive their refunds. However, if you have already filed your return and this happens the bogus return will immediately be rejected without any time or information needed from you to remedy the situation.
- Gather all Tax Documents Beforehand: Make sure you have all necessary tax documents and documentation before beginning your return. Doing this can save you significant amounts of time or money. Tax documents can come in a variety of ways such as mail or email, but make sure you have all documents such as W-2’s, 1098’s, 1099’s, Healthcare verification statements (1095s) before beginning the process. We recommend creating a separate email folder for anything tax related and a separate folder or filing place at home for tax related documents. This can save you a lot of time if you are filing your own returns or a lot of money if you are paying a CPA an hourly rate to file your taxes.
- Educate Yourself: The tax code is constantly being revised and edited year after year, whether we hear about it in the news or not. Make sure you are aware of applicable tax changes to ensure that you are maximizing your benefit and filing your return correctly. Or pay a licensed professional to do this for you!
- Use Professional Help When Necessary: If you are in doubt, make sure you contact a professional tax preparer. The tax code is complicated and ever changing. If you have questions, contact a professional for a consultation session or to have them file your return for you. There are a plethora of affordable solutions available to you that can provide you a very worthwhile return on your time and dollars.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any tax questions you may have. If we don’t know the answer we know people who will.
All the best,
Your Fortis Capital Management Team