(STATEPOINT) — Tax season can be one of the most, well, taxing times of year, especially for chronic procrastinators who make up about 20 percent of the American public, according to research conducted at DePaul University.
Why drag out the stress? Here are some great ways to streamline the process of preparing and filing taxes:
As you receive your W-2, 1099s and other tax forms, review each document right away to ensure it’s accurate. Then, file these forms in one place so they will be ready for you when you’re ready to file.
Consider filing taxes online. The IRS provides a free database of e-file providers, as well as information on free tax preparation for qualifying individuals and families. More information and resources can be found at www.irs.gov.
For business owners, it may make sense to turn to professionals for tax filing services, but many individuals have relatively uncomplicated financial situations and can save a lot of money by preparing taxes on their own.
However, the right tools will make the process go more smoothly. For quick calculations, make sure that you’re equipped with tools like a desktop calculator with tax calculation functionality. For example, those from Casio are ideal for home or office use.
You can reduce your margin of error by keeping better documentation of your tax paperwork and better notations throughout the preparation and filing process. Consider a calculator with printing functionality, such as the HR-8TMPlus printing calculator, which has an easy-to-read big LCD display, prints 1.6 lines per second and includes an adapter.
When it comes to filing your taxes, don’t procrastinate. Not only will the task loom over your head until you take care of it, but you may encounter filing issues that delay the process and cause you to miss the deadline and incur a hefty penalty fee.
If you’re due for a refund, you’ll especially want to file early so you can put that refund to good use right away (i.e. paying down debt, investing it in a retirement fund or college savings account). Consider filing your taxes as soon as you have all your forms in hand and opting for direct deposit for an even faster refund (keep in mind you will need your bank information on hand to do so).
While tax season is only an annual headache, it can be a major headache if you are not prepared and organized. Take steps to reduce the stress.