Tax season

Lonsdale Institute

Tax season can be a nightmare for many people. No matter how you’re filing, there is always a great deal of stress surrounding the process. It doesn’t have to be that terrible, however. As with many things, proper preparation can go a long way towards making your tax season go smoothly and easily.

File on time, if not early

Most years, the deadline to file taxes is April 15th. On the rare years where the 15th falls on a weekend, the deadline is often pushed back to the following Monday, as it was this year. Filing late results in fines, so it is always smart to get your taxes done well in advance of the deadline.

But take time if you need it

While it is very important to file before the deadline passes, it won’t hurt you any to file on the day of. If you need time to collect W-2s, 1099s or any other tax forms, then take the time. It’s better to have everything at hand to file your taxes completely than it is to realize you’re missing something.

Take advantage of technology

Filing a paper return means a six to eight-week wait to get your refund check from the IRS. However, filing electronically usually results in getting your refund in as little as three weeks. Electronic filing services are also great ways for individuals without much tax knowledge to file on their own, as the services have checks built in to ensure correct and complete filing.

Use marriage or divorce status changes

Know that if you had any change in marital status for the tax year, you may get a significant return on your taxes. Married couples filing jointly are often in a lower tax bracket than the two individuals were before. People who got divorced in the previous year often qualify for deductions for alimony.

Be smart about deductions

If you want your full refund, then you need to be thorough in your deductions. Many people won’t take advantage of the significant number of things that they can claim as itemized deductions. Individuals could claim an average of $6,350 in deductions for 2017. Just remember to be honest on your deductions and not greedy, otherwise, you may get a call from an auditor!