I hate doing my taxes all at once. Do you see a theme? I have no attention span. I can’t stand to spend large chunks of time on daily life activities, like cleaning, organizing, or doing my taxes. It stresses me out to think I have to complete a huge boring project all at once. Over the years I’ve developed a pretty solid and forehead-smackingly easy tax preparation routine that doesn’t stress me out.
This is my tax routine
- Buy TurboTax at the beginning of the year (I buy mine at Costco when they have a coupon for it).
- Install TurboTax
- Set up TurboTax, confirming all the information that the program saves for me from prior years
- When any tax-related mailing comes in, I set it on my desk. When the kids go to bed that is my number one priority – to input the information in. Then I stuff it in a folder.
- Some time in the middle of January I input all the information for various deductions. In my financial transaction tracking app I tag each “tax-related” item so I can search and easily find them all at once. If I get something on paper before the tax season starts or have paper receipts, I put them in individual envelopes, write what it’s for on the envelope, and file them in my tax folder so they are ready for me when January rolls around.
- When the last form comes in (I’m still waiting on one more form), I input it, and I’m ready to file.
- When I file, I print out my tax returns to a PDF, save them on the computer, print out a paper copy, and stuff that in my taxes folder too. I file my yearly tax folder in an accordion file with all my taxes (and only my taxes).
Why I use TurboTax
I never use a tax preparer. It’s not worth the money to me because I can do it myself. My brother-in-law recently posted a picture on Facebook of my sister doing her taxes by hand. My response? T-U-R-B-O-T-A-X. I think it’s a good medium between paying someone a lot to do a task that’s really not too difficult (unless of course you have big tax issues – then you should hire someone) and being a cheapskate (yes, I just called my sister a cheapskate) and doing them by hand.
Unless you’re a pro, you are likely to get more money back if you use tax prep software to file your taxes than if you do it by hand. It’s very easy and if you know how to prepare your taxes you can go right where you need to go. If you know zero about doing your taxes, TurboTax will walk you through it and interpret all those crazy IRS forms that are virtually meaningless to normal humans.
TurboTax is on sale this week!
TurboTax is $10 off at a bunch of retail outlets, including Amazon, until February 16. If you haven’t purchased it, just do it and start getting those taxes in. No special trip to the store required. My taxes would be filed already were it not for the delay on this last W-2. Um, I mean, you’re like me, right? And buy everything you own on Amazon? Click. Done.
Don’t be crazy – I am not a tax lawyer!
None of this is advice about preparing your own personal tax returns and I’m not a tax professional. It’s about what works for me. If you need someone to prepare your taxes, hire a tax preparation professional (preferably a reputable, independent tax preparer). Don’t get an advance on your taxes from one of those weird shops – just wait for your refund (even if they may get delayed). If you make a million dollars a year, dump your crap on a tax preparer and walk away. Always be honest and accurate on your tax returns. Seriously. An audit is bad enough even when you’ve done everything right. I know – I’ve been there.
Now seriously, do your taxes! Get er done!
Thankfully my children totally do not assist with this activity.