7 Simple Steps to Reduce your Tax Stress

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency: but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” wrote Benjamin Franklin in a letter from 1789.

Would anyone doubt that taxes are here to stay? Their presence in our society is as predictable as the sunrise.

Over the next few weeks our Prosper On turns its focus to taxes and the best ways to deal with them. From minimizing your tax bill to organizing for next year, we want to provide some relief from this stressful time of year.

Whether you file your taxes as an individual, a couple or as a small business, it’s common to have some anxiety around the whole process of taxes. Generally it may be the fear of the unknown:  Do you have all of your information and receipts? Do you have competent help to process your tax return? Will you meet the deadlines for both your taxes and tax preparers who usually need extra time? How much will you owe or will you be receiving a refund? These are all areas that produce anxiety in a person.

Here are some simple ways to relieve some of that anxiety:

  1. Often anxiety diminishes if we just start! Once you are underway the fear diminishes as you begin to focus your attention on the task at hand.
  2. Get organized with one place to accumulate all of your tax forms, receipts and records. Some may use a paper file or folder while others may scan everything in to an electronic file.
  3. Carve out some time in your schedule to begin the process. Be intentional and don’t wait until the last minute. That’s a recipe for disaster.
  4. It’s probably best to accomplish this work over several sessions – make a plan! It could look like this:
    • Session 1 – Gather all receipts, tax forms (ex. 1099’s)
    • Session 2 – Your CPA or even Turbo Tax may have an organizer with the different areas to be working on
    • Session 3 – Make an appointment with your CPA or tax preparer
    • Session 4 – Follow-up phone calls or emails to begin to finalize your return
    • Session 5 – Finalize your return and save a copy
    • Working with the same tax preparation group/CPA over the years adds consistency and should help reduce the anxiety. This person likely understands your situation so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel every year.
  5. Maybe you do your own taxes. If you need some help this year, hiring a tax pro may be a good way to take the burden off of you. Like a financial advisor, they offer several benefits to the average person.
  6. Start organizing for next year’s taxes!

At Prosperion we’re here to help. Sometimes a simple phone call can put you on the right path to accomplish this yearly task we all face. Even Benjamin Franklin had to work at his taxes, so you are not alone.

 

Greg Horstman

Greg Horstman

For the past 28 years, Greg has worked to provide clients with exceptional financial advice and strategic investment strategies. In the summer of 2009 he partnered with Craig and joined Prosperion Financial Advisors. His service and personal dedication to clients is second to none. Learn more about Greg here.

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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC.