It’s May 7th, so tax season is officially over. But it’ll be back again. That’s for sure! As Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Whether we like it or not – Tax Day is here to stay.

I think the only people who look forward to tax season are the tax preparers and the people excited about filing early to get their return back. I must admit that I don’t fall into either of these categories.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make next year’s tax season easier on ourselves? The good news is that there are some steps you can take to do just that. These steps could help you eliminate the stress and save you time and money.

Here are some tips that I’ve put into action to make tax season easier:

  1. Plan Ahead – The first step is to understand what types of tax records you need. You can find out this information when you review last year’s tax return or use a tax preparer’s checklist. These items might include W2s, charitable donations, expenses (childcare) and mortgage interest just to name a few.
  2. Create a Filing System – Now that you know what to look out for, you need to create a filing system to keep your tax records throughout the year. Being organized will save you quite a bit of time. Create a filing system that works for you (monthly/yearly). You could store your receipts, expenses and tax statements in a file cabinet with folder(s), envelopes or shoebox. The key is to keep everything in a single location with the tax year on it. That way you’ll be able to find it easy when you’re ready to file.
  3. Stay Organized and Review Tax Information in Advance – Want to avoid the stress of last minute requests and corrections? The best way to avoid this is to stay organized and review your tax information (tax documents, expenses, receipts, ID #s) throughout the year. This gives you time to correct any problems and confirm you have everything. Poor organization and missing tax records could result in a higher tax bill, tax penalties and delayed filing.
  4. Save Past Returns – Keep a copy of your past tax returns. It’s recommended that you keep your returns up to seven years. These tax returns come in handy for future returns and if you need to amend your taxes.
  5. Don’t Sweat It! – The best thing you can do is be prepared for tax season. When you have everything ready, you don’t have to sweat it (less stress, more peace of mind). Scrambling to gather stuff at the last minute becomes a thing of the past.

I hope this post helps you eliminate the stress and anxiety of Tax Day. Who knows you may even start getting excited about it!

Do you have any other tips to make tax season easier? What works for you?