As soon as January 1 rolls around, the TV and radio breaks are filled with commercials about taxes. Do you taxes. Do your taxes for free.(asterisk!!) Do your taxes or go to jail. Don’t let the IRS bully you. We’ll pay you now, do your taxes, and keep you out of jail. There are so many commercials and I (Andrea) am already tired of hearing about them.
We’re going to make it simple for you for tax season with these three tips to make you happier, saner and to get your taxes done and sent off to the IRS in a timely fashion.
Do Your Taxes
The first thing you need to remember is to do your taxes. Don’t avoid them. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t ignore them. Look, I’m no fan of doing taxes. Not because I have to pay them, but because it’s so overly complicated sometimes. Gone are the days of the 1040-EZ form for me, and I, too, get intimidated each January. But I still do my taxes. Honestly, I’d love to just write one, flat rate check and be done with it. No calculations. No long forms. No itemizations. But that’s not happening. So I do my taxes.
Start early. Start now. Even if it’s just filling out the basic information - name, address. It’s a start. I know you have to wait until the W-2s start rolling in, but start now and pick a time to do them each week. Take one hour a week and address them. You’ll have them sent off long before April comes.
If you don’t take your taxes to someone, please use software to do your taxes. It’s awesome. I don’t know what I’d do without it! I’m not going to recommend any one particular software because each has its merits. I personally use TaxAct Online, but I know plenty of people who use TurboTax. Whatever floats your boat. Software just makes it easier and it guides you through the whole process.
Don’t Be Afraid of the IRS
Seriously, the thing I hate most about those commercials is how they vilify the IRS. They make you believe that if you don’t do your taxes properly, the IRS is going to knock on your door and haul you away to tax prison. Uh, no. That’s not how it works.
Look, I’ve screwed up my taxes in the past. Not because I was trying to be devious or deceptive. Just because taxes are confusing, and sometimes it feels like it’s written in some archaic, foreign language that only three people know (and you’re not one of them). Did they haul me off, throw me in a dungeon and give me moldy bread and water? No. They sent me a letter, told me how I’d screwed things up, and told me what I owed. I called them, set up a payment plan, and paid my debt. It was that simple.
The IRS is not “the bad guy.” They’re actually quite helpful. Whenever I have a problem, I call them. Really. And I get a person on the phone who is patient, and kind and helpful, even though she has to spend at least eight hours helping frantic, worried or angry taxpayers with their problems.
So, please, don’t be afraid to get in there and get those taxes done early, and ask for help. It’s there, and wants you to get things done quickly and easily.
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.