The 5-Minute Plan for Organizing Your Tax Return

You want to get started on taxes, but it’s not likely a priority this week – or even next week for that matter. Here’s a smart way to find time and avoid the last minute-filing stress.

It may not come as a surprise that nearly 30 million US taxpayers wait until the final week to file, according to IRS statistics. That’s nearly a quarter of taxpayers who wait until the last minute!

This year, you can be among the fortunate ones who get ahead of the tax deadline.

Here’s your tax filing to-do list – spend 5 minutes scheduling the following:

  • Mark down Tuesday, April 17: as this year’s absolute deadline for filing in the United States (unless you request an extension), put it in your day planner’s monthly calendar (The filing deadline is April 30 in Canada)
  • Schedule a filing date: either call your tax professional or select a date for preparing your own 1040 form in the next four weeks:
  • Collect expense receipts: choose a date to gather, categorize and sort your receipts
  • Review bank statements: select a date to run through your bank statements and use a highlighter to mark potential deductible expenses
  • List deductions: schedule an hour to create a simple spreadsheet listing work-related mileage, healthcare and other deductible expenses
  • Create a documents checklist: list of the necessary income records, investment records, deduction records and credit records that are relevant to your filing.
  • Gather your documents: schedule time to collect and organize all the necessary documents on your documents checklist; it’s a good idea to sort these using colored folders or sticky notes

When scheduling these tax filing steps, it’s important that you be realistic about how much time you’ll need. You may find that six different time blocks over the next six weeks will get you ahead of the game.

Remember, you and your tax professional have better odds of creating an accurate return when you do prep work. Plan your tax filing today and have a successful tax season.

2 thoughts on “The 5-Minute Plan for Organizing Your Tax Return

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