This post is part of the TaxACT #BeatTheDeadline blog tour which shares tips on how to make tax time a smooth and easy process before the April 15 deadline. TaxACT provides the tools and guidance to help you confidently file taxes easy and fast. Do your own taxes today at TaxACT. You got this.
I hate tax time. Why? Invariably, I answer one of their questions incorrectly and somehow make a colossal mistake that tells me the IRS owes me $10,000, which, hey, would be awesome, but at my income level, highly unlikely.
Taxes, especially for those of us who are semi-self employed, can be really challenging. But they don’t have to be. In fact, if you set up a ritual where you’re doing something fun around your taxes, then you can do them together.
PSA: If you get married, you should change your withholding otherwise you will regret getting married because you owe the government way more than you would have! Who knew, right? Oh, right. Many people know this. Including me, now!
Here’s what we did this year to make filing our taxes easier:
1. We Entered Information as it Came In
Instead of letting the papers pile up on the dining room table, every time the mail came in with a tax form, we’d go to the computer, log in to the tax software, and enter it in. That way, we could get the easy, straightforward stuff out of the way.
2. We Saved the Challenging Bits
Much of our stuff was less than straightforward. We bought a house on December 30th, we sold some stock in order to have a hefty down payment, I have miscellaneous income, we couldn’t find one of my W2s, and holy smokes none of that is straightforward. So we called for backup — Brent’s mom is very smart and really has a mind for personal taxes.
3. We Set Aside one Saturday Afternoon
Brent made coffee and promised tasty treats if we could just finish this once and for all. Since I’m a sucker for tasty treats (I mean, come on, aren’t you?), we were able to finish everything, even though the total tax bill almost made me lose my taste for a treat. Almost.
4. We Discussed Ways to Minimize Our Tax Bill Next Time
Aside from telling the IRS I was a married lady, could we find other ways to minimize our tax bill so we don’t owe so much next year? I suggested that I quit my job and eat bonbons, but somehow Brent wasn’t having any of that. But we could find ways to lower our tax bill. So far, the whole plan has consisted of taking pictures of things we donate so we can itemize our donations. In 2014, we moved, we combined houses, we upgraded a bunch of our household items by getting married, and we need to do a better job tracking in the future! So, we’re taking pictures.
I’m glad we didn’t wait until the last minute, actually. It’s better to know what we’re dealing with ahead of time, so we can make better choices in 2015.
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