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February Challenge – Tax Planning

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I would not want to be working for the IRS these days. The immense amount of policy changes, quick responses to COVID legislation and of course, annual tax time. Then, of course, there are the PPP loans, ERC tax credits and so much more. It’s enough to make someone’s head spin.

As a programmer, I always look at the work load from the technology point of view and ugh. I have alot of sympathy for the teams working to update tax filing software, there are just so many nuances, dependencies and modifications to be made.

But any way it goes, tax season is upon us again. The twins are chomping at the bit to file their taxes and anticipating getting the stimulus tax credits. (They are both part of the generation that did not qualify in any capacity for the stimulus checks.) The IRS announcement that they weren’t accepting any returns until February 12th really took the wind out of their sails.

Are you Ready for Filing Taxes?

While legally companies had through January to mail out tax forms, most of us (5 of the 6 of us have had jobs this past year) have received all our tax documentation. This will be the girls first year filing taxes and the twins first time filing as independents, so lots of lessons to be learned.

  1. Gather all the documents – donations, job related earnings, receipts and bills education related forms and personal information.
  2. Organize and scan everything in – we have been paperless for several years now. I have had the kids set up digital storage to keep important documents in the past few years. So now we scan any important document including tax documents.
  3. Block off some time – whether you are filing taxes yourself or paying a professional to prepare them for you, it’s important that you block off some time to get your ducks in a row. Make a list of it all. Make sure nothing is missing.

I have always filed my own taxes. Well, except 2 years when both my ex-husband and I had businesses, it was just too complicated for me. This year I will guide 3 of my children through filing their own taxes and do my own as well. One of the twins is having a friend’s dad do his in hopes of getting more money back.

This month’s challenge is to get ready to file your taxes. Gather all the documents, make a plan and take your time so it doesn’t become a stressful mess.


2 Comments

  • Reply Meghan1227 |

    I would suspect that all your kids who are filling could file for free at IRS.gov, some of the options even include free state filing. The options the IRS offers are all income based so they should qualify no problem. Even though the IRS isn’t processing 2021 returns until February 12th, they could do the filing now and have their docs near the top of the pile once processing begins.

  • Reply Angie |

    I like to sign in to previous years tax software (credit karma/turbotax/hr block/etc) in January. Then I try to input my forms directly as I receive them to save effort later. I keep all the paper copies binder clipped together right where I sort the mail. Any electronic copies are PDF’d to my flash drive. I don’t trust blasting my SSN to cloud services if I don’t have to.

    I plan for and keep track of my taxes on an excel spreadsheet throughout the year. It makes sure there is no surprise on what I owe at the end of the year. It also ensures I pay enough taxes throughout the year so that I don’t have an underpayment penalty. In there I also keep a list of forms I’m expecting and the amounts. That way I can track what I haven’t received yet, or if the amount is incorrect.

So, what do you think ?