Tax reform has moved closer to becoming fact, so there is at least a middling chance that there could be big changes coming before the end of the year that may affect how much we owe in taxes when it comes to file them in early 2018.
Now just what those changes may be is still far from certain, and may not be completely clear until we get down to putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and actually entering information into tax forms.
Even in this time of uncertainty, though, one should not hide from taxes, or throw up our hands and decide that there is nothing we can do. As always, there are advantages to handling these things straight-on, and tackling them as early as possible.
And yes, that can mean starting now. So here are my top five reasons to start preparing for tax season now:
1. Choice of appointment time
All the procrastination that happens come tax time means that we get VERY busy in April as everyone tries to finish up in days what they had months to do. I like to think that we do a good job of accommodating everyone, but that means you may need to take an appointment time that’s not ideal. I assure you, however, that many of those ideal times are open in January and February.
2. Starting early equals more time
And let’s be honest, the vast majority of us do not keep a folder through the year where we can slide in pertinent tax documents that we have gone over and collated chronologically. A little mindfulness now means there less chance that you’ll forget about something you need in the future.
3. More time equals more opportunity
Also, when the time crunch is not on, you have more of a chance to gather information that you may not have even known would help you. One of my favorite things during tax season is making people aware of deductions they did not know about. But when it’s April 15th, tracking down a receipt to save yourself $20 pales in comparison to just getting things filed on time. If it’s February 15th, though, going home and spending the 15 minutes it may take to get some another documents turns out to be a much more manageable proposition. And when it only takes five minutes, most of us are okay with working at a $240 an hour clip, right?
4. Decrease your stress
We’ve all waited into April at some point to do our taxes, right? We also all spent the weeks before that thinking of how we should get moving, how we’re going to spend the weekend getting everything together, and then feeling the stress build as it doesn’t happen, right? Why not make yourself a promise now to not feel that pressure this year.
5. Moves can still be made
And this is because you don’t even have to wait until the calendar changes to start this work. I’m not going to pretend that there is some secret magic move that we can do in these final weeks to remove your tax bill or even decrease it by 50 percent. We can, however, do some smaller things like making charitable donations or putting money into retirement funds that could decrease your final bill.
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