Given that it the start of tax season and individuals will be gathering and preparing their 2015 tax return information, I’d thought I’d put together some basic tax tips. Individuals may consider thinking about these items in order to have a smooth and (hopefully) stress-free 2015 tax season.
Additionally, I’ve included a link to our 2015 Tax organizer.
Please feel free to use it at your convenience to get your “tax ducks in a row”. Furthermore, please let us know if you’d like us to prepare and file your taxes for you. Many current clients have found Blankenship Financial to be cost effective and efficient compared to other big-named tax preparation services. As Enrolled Agents both Jim and I are well qualified to handle most tax matters and returns.
And now with the tax tips…
- Beware the non-tax man cometh! Each year we field calls from clients and prospective clients regarding calls they get from fraudsters claiming to be the IRS and that the individuals owe the IRS money. Typical phrasing includes a tax penalty owed that can be remedied with a credit card. DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY INFORMATION! If it’s a legitimate issue with the IRS you will receive the notice in writing. Of course, feel free to call us to have a look as well.
- Consider not procrastinating. Although this can be hard to do, do your best to organize all of your information as soon as possible. Take advantage of the link above and get everything in order well before the tax deadline. This not only reduces stress, it also helps reduce fees and penalties for late filing and payments.
- Organize throughout the year. Many folks take advantage of deductions. This means keeping track of receipts, mileage, etc. Instead of stuffing it all into a shoebox until tax time, take some time throughout the year to make files and organize bills, receipts and mileage logs. There are even online apps that can do this for you with a scanner or your smartphone.
- Use a bookkeeping/budget system. Many folks cringe at the words bookkeeping or budgeting. It’s just not something they enjoy doing. That being said can take a lot of the work out of it by subscribing to a system such as QuickBooks or Mint.com. Programs such as these can help organize where you’re spending and even categorize budget items.
- Review your withholding and retirement plan contributions. By adjusting how much is withheld from your paycheck and or allocating more to your 401(k) you can help alleviate what could be a big bill at tax time. In addition, if you find you’re getting a big refund every year, consider adjusting your withholding so that less is taken for taxes. Instead of giving the government an interest-free loan, put that money to work for you!
These are just some basic items to help get you started. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for any particular questions or concerns.