How to Actually Look Forward to Filing Your Taxes

Tax season is nearly here and it’s one of my favorite times of the year! WAIT, what?! Did I really just say that?

Yep, as a financial geek and former tax professional I actually look forward to tax season every year. The main reason is because I prepare my finances throughout the year, so I have a pretty accurate picture of how my taxes are going to look.

That way I don’t have to worry or dread it when the time comes. How do I do it?

I use a few different but simple methods to keep my money organized and on track. By making a few small changes and applying one of these simple tips, you too might actually look forward to getting your taxes done!

1. Maximize Your Refund with Digital Tools

One of my all-time favorite ways to maximize my time and money is to use digital tools and software. Many of the programs out there will do the work for you!

And as humans we are prone to forgetfulness, mistakes and procrastination, but with the help of apps, tools and other financial programs, it’s easy to maximize your refund without much effort.

There are apps available to help you track your income so you don’t overpay on taxes, snap photos of your receipts so you don’t miss a single deduction and tools that help you calculate how much your tax refund will be – down to the dollar.

And don’t forget, if you don’t think you’re getting the maximum refund or you have a feeling your taxes could have been done better, it’s definitely okay (and encouraged) to find a second opinion. Afterall, it’s your hard-earned money, you want to make the most of it.

2. Find a Pro that Specializes in What You Need

When I first started working as a tax professional, I noticed I really liked helping small business owners and entrepreneurs file their taxes. I’m very passionate about empowering small business owners (even if it’s a business of one) grow – without debt – while taking the headache out of tax time.

I remember one tax return specifically, for a super talented hair stylist. She made good money, but between the cost of rent for her space and paying for her kid’s daycare, she was left with hardly any profit.

After a few minutes asking her questions and understanding her frustrations, we worked out a plan for her to negotiate a better deal with the salon owner – one that helped her work less, and increase the revenue she brings into the shop.

This left her more time to be with her kids, and saved her money on daycare expenses – all while giving the salon owner a good deal of revenue too. It was a win-win!

That’s when I knew I had a knack for helping professionals, small business owners and freelancers! When you find a professional who specializes in your area of expertise, they can offer valuable and custom advice that’s perfect for your situation.

This is why I strongly recommend finding a tax professional, career advocate or support group that focuses on what you need help with. When you find a pro that is an expert in your niche, you just can’t lose!

3. Get Your Refund Faster

Nothing is more exciting than finding out you’re getting a tax refund! On the flip side, nothing is more frustrating than realizing your refund got lost in the mail or somehow got misplaced.

If you want to get your refund faster, so you can pay for your business and personal expenses, the best way to do that is via Direct Deposit into your bank account or with a Visa Prepaid card.

This method is ideal for loading your tax refund, because it deposits your refund into your account or your card instantly, which is much faster than waiting for a check in the mail.

And with Visa’s “zero liability” policy, your tax refund is safe, even if your card is lost or stolen. That’s definitely not something that can be said about a check sent via snail mail!

However, many people don’t know the account number or routing number of their Visa Prepaid card can be used the same way as a direct deposit via a bank account. This gives you instant access to your funds, so you can pay your bills, continue to grow your business or even buy something nice for yourself!

4. Stay Organized Throughout the Year

As I mentioned, one of the biggest reason I don’t dread tax season every year is 1) I’m a little crazy and 2) I spend a little time over a period of weeks or months, to stay organized and keep my finances under control. No, I didn’t learn how to do that overnight and it took me a few years to finally get the hang of things.

But spending a little time here and there, is a whole lot better than spending hours and even days, trying to get your taxes in order (or paying an accountant a huge amount of money to do it for you).

As a bootstrapping entrepreneur, it’s important to not only save money, but to know all the ins-and-outs of how your business works. And nothing is more vital than having a pulse on your finances.

So do yourself and your business a favor by creating a simple system, whether that’s through the use of a digital tool, bookkeeping software or a notebook, that will help you make sense of your financial transactions in a quick and easy manner.

Then once tax time rolls around, you might actually look forward to it!

 

[I am blogging on behalf of Visa Prepaid and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Discover more at http://www.VisaPrepaid.com or join the Visa Prepaid community at http://www.facebook.com/VisaPrepaid.]

About the author: Carrie Smith is the financial artist and editor behind Careful Cents. She helps creative entrepreneurs make a living with their creations, and reach financial freedom through systems and financial organization. She’s been featured in The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, Kiplinger Finance and several other business websites. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to pursue entrepreneurship and blogging. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @carefulcents.

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