Business & Real Estate

Tips for a stress-free tax season


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The wisest uses for a tax refund is to funnel it into retirement savings, pay off debt or pad a rainy day fund, experts say, since it is essentially your own income you overpaid to the state.

Taxes are an unavoidable fact of life. Unfortunately, they can be somewhat overwhelming, which can cause people to put the task off and miss the deadline. Use the following strategies for a stress-free tax season.

• Get it over with. The sooner you file your taxes, the sooner you can stop worrying about them. Early filing also means an earlier refund – if you’re due one – or time to plan to prepare to pay any owed taxes. To ensure it all happens on time, block out time on your calendar to sit down and work on your taxes. Be sure not to underestimate how much time is needed. If your situation has gotten more complicated over the past year, figure that into the equation.

• Check your work. The last thing anybody wants to hear is that they are being audited. You can avoid this anxiety by having the right tools on hand. Start by keeping your records filed in an organized way – both digitally and on paper with a filing cabinet that locks. As you do your taxes, it is a good idea to take your time and do a practice run. A printing calculator is a good way to keep records of all necessary calculations. Be sure your printing calculator is up to the task. A two-color ink printer – such as Casio’s HR-170RC – allows you to quickly see both positive and negative numbers to avoid reading errors, and a 12-digit LCD display showcases crisp, sharp numbers for easy viewing. A must-have tool for tax season will include a grand total key, cost/sell/margin buttons, sign change, tax calculation and decimal selector.

• Maximize your refund. While many people look forward to their tax refund and view it as a windfall, it is important to keep in mind that this money is simply your own income that you overpaid to the state and federal government throughout the year. You should have a smart plan for your refund so that it is not wasted on an impulse purchase. Good ideas for tax refunds include investing the money in a retirement account, using it to pay down debt or padding out your rainy-day fund.

This tax season, don’t get overwhelmed. For stress-free filing, stay organized and give yourself plenty of time.

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