No mystery here ~ April 15th is going to roll around soon and it will be that time again. Yep, time to settle up with the good folks at the IRS. Now is the time to get ready for it. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who have already filed taxes this is a task which is currently on the to-do list. Rather than allow yourself to get sucked into the vortex of procrastination or worse yet, complete disregard of it, spending a short period of time now getting ready to do it will save you time, energy, motivation and self esteem in the long run.
What am I talking about? Not completing this task can ultimately sap you of all those vital pieces, which are component parts of a Thriving Individual. Knowing your taxes are due, dreading looking in the mail to see if you have a notice from the IRS, wondering what will happen or living with the guilt of not having paid your taxes are all time consuming, energy draining and ultimately exhausting.
So let’s not let that be you! Here are some basic steps to get you well situated:
- Start collecting social security numbers and dates of birth for all those whom you either are filing for or who are your dependents. Not having this will slow down the process in the long run so now’s a good time to do it.
- Gather and organize your paperwork into clear, monthly or topic collections (all medical bills together for example or all child care expenses).
- Be ready and looking for your W-2 form. This is not a form to throw into recycling! If you’re self employed you’ll be gathering your receipts and other documentation to hand off to your CPA (and yes, I would suggest that a Thriving Individual know their limitations so unless you’re a CPA yourself let the pros do this work and save the DIY projects for things like painting a room or planting a shrub).
- Have a plan for where and how to file all the bits and pieces which will come your way at tax time such as statements from your mortgage holder, end of the year statements from your retirement plan and bank, statements you’ve collected over the course of the year if you’ve made donations. These will also be saved long term (at least 7 years and longer if you have the space!) so unless you plan to scan and back up these pieces of paper be ready for how you want to manage them.
- Update any tax filing program you use if you plan to do this task on your own; finding out you’re using a 3 year old version of TurboTax ™ on a Saturday night is not fun.
- While we’re on the topic please know that interviewing and hiring a CPA, if you plan to go that route, is a task best done sooner rather than on April 14th. Ask friends and family, interview professionals who get good reviews from your friends and family or other professionals you deal with. You can also read more about this in my blog post on Hiring Your Team in November.
Organize, be ready and know that you’re not alone; no one likes this task but to be Thriving and Vital it is a necessary task.