3 Tips To Help With Taxes Now (And 3 To Help Even More Next Year)

Posted on: 20 November 2015

Tax time shows up more quickly than you really expect. If you're not prepared, tax season can feel like a never ending nightmare. Here are three big things you can do now to make tax time go much more smoothly and three more tips that you can put into effect now for next year.

Start Collecting Your Documents

If you're like most people, the chaos of tax time makes you vow that you'll do better next year. You'll save every receipt, and it will remain safe in a folder marked "20XX Tax Information." You'll have everything you need and there won't be a single moment of panic. But then life gets busy and you start stuffing receipts hither and yon. Sound familiar? Start collecting those receipts and other documents that you need for your taxes now instead of waiting until it's time to actually fill out your forms. It can lessen the panic.

Tip for Next Year: Don't bother with a folder for next year. Take a picture of every single receipt or document that you want to keep for your taxes and name it something that will help you identify it. Store them electronically both on your hard drive and in the cloud. Come tax time, just do a search for the files you actually need.

Go Through Your Calendar

What you do during the year can affect the number and the types of deductions that you can take on your taxes. It can be tough when you're filling out the forms to remember exactly what you did and when you did it. Go through your calendar and your planner and see if the information listed helps to jog your memory. Itemizations such as expenses you incurred during a job search, child care, and others are just some of the events to look for.

Tip for Next Year: Make life easier on yourself next year and keep an index for each month. Whether you're using a planner or a simple wall calendar, keep a list for each day of the month. Include one to two words that describe what occurred that day. That way, when it's time to do next year's taxes, you can look at the index instead of flipping through the calendar. If you need more details, then you can go to that page in the planner or calendar.

Check Your Withholding

Your withholding amounts can change when your income raises or lowers. There may be other factors that can affect where your withholding should be, such as you have a child, you get a second job, or you even got laid off. You can change your withholding at any time by filing a new W-4 form with your employer.

Tip for Next Year: Look at your withholding as early as possible in the year. The later in the year you make changes, the less you'll see the results you want in your withholding.

If you need more help with your taxes or any financial services, contact a consumer finance center near you. They can help you make sure all your financial needs are met. Click here for more information.