According to J. Paul Getty, “If you get up early, work late, and pay your taxes, you will get ahead — if you strike oil.”
Few of us will strike oil, but most of us file tax returns. To make your tax experience less painful, more productive and hopefully rewarding, I’ve assembled a few tips for you.
1. Be Honest. NEVER give false information or numbers you cannot support with documentation. Honesty allows you to file without fear and sleep well at night.
2. Organize your documents. Have your W-2s from employers or 1099s from contract work all in one place. Your vehicle registration fees, charitable contributions, medical expenses, sales tax receipts and other documentation from things like a move or job search expenses should be assembled. Avoid the cost of time and money by spending a little time getting your paperwork together.
3. File online (if you can). Filing online is faster, safer, and secure but isn't right for everyone. The IRS has approved a number of companies, inlcuding 1040.com, Turbotax.com, H&R Block, even IRS.gov/freefile. If you are unsure about filing yourself, then go to IRS.gov, do your research, or hire someone to do it for you. It is better to be right than sorry.
4. Don't rush. One of the top mistakes taxpayers make when trying to meet the deadline is recording incorrect Social Security numbers for their children and spouses. These numbers are required to get valuable deductions, credits and exemptions. Slow down, review your work and ask someone else to double-check it for you.
This year you have an extra 3 days to file, but don't procrastinate! As Jesus tells us in Matthew 22, "give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's".