The answer is, it shouldn’t be!
The best plan of action is to start planning today for next year’s return. Today, the stress of doing everything that needed to be done undoubtedly still lingers. So does the anxiety of trying to find the supporting information and documents you needed, and the fear that your computer might freeze as you were about to hit “send” to eFile your last-minute return.
As appealing as it might be to put everything tax-related “out of sight and out of mind” until next year, experts say you should take the opposite approach. Taxes, they maintain, should be top of mind year round.
Making a few Tax Resolutions now can banish next April’s angst. Here are some suggestions.
Watch the News
Keep an eye on what happens in Congress with the president’s proposed federal budget proposal. No matter what the final outcome, there may be tax changes large and small coming your way.
These changes could impact itemized deductions, earned income tax credit, child care tax credit, charitable deductions, trusts and estate plans, retirement accounts, IRA transfers and rollovers, and more.
If you know what’s coming, good or not-so-good, you can be better prepared to manage it when the time comes.
There’s also a good reason to keep up to date with the new Health Care Law when it comes to your taxes. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service has already released a warning that Americans who don’t obtain qualifying health insurance will face a “shared responsibility payment” when filing their tax returns in 2015.
Watch for the good news
You might also find some positive tax changes coming your way. For example, a report by FoxBusiness indicates that home office deductions will be simpler to claim, and you might be able to count on a $500 carry-over if you have a health care flexible spending accounts (FSA).
If you monitor developments throughout 2014, you’ll be in better shape when April 2015 approaches.
Get professional help
If the thought of doing it all yourself is too overwhelming, now is the best time to seek the help of a tax professional. Don’t wait until the last minute next year, when you’re both frazzled.
Get —and stay — organized
Whether you tackle your taxes yourself or do it with help, your Number One Tax Resolution should be getting — and staying — on track with your record-keeping. You know from recent experience what basic information and documents you’ll need for filing, so start collecting them now. Set up a good, easy-to-manage filing system and keep it within reach.
Come April 15, 2015, you’ll be glad you did!