8 Tips for Those Who Have Been Procrastinating on Tax Preparation NJ

If you’re still procrastinating on filing your taxes this year, the good news is that you can still get most of the refund you’re owed (assuming you qualify). The bad news is that there are penalties involved if you wait too long, so it’s best to file as soon as possible if you want to benefit from your refund. Here are eight tips that might help if you’ve been putting off tax preparation in NJ this year.

Early Is Better

If you’re concerned about receiving a tax refund or owing money, you may want to file your taxes early. Filing early allows you to check whether you might be eligible for any credits or deductions that could result in more money in your pocket. If something happened late last year and resulted in a change to your financial situation, filing early also gives you time to change your return before it is officially submitted. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when filing early. For example, you will need to estimate your tax liability as accurately as possible and pay any balance due with an e-file. Additionally, some states require estimated tax payments throughout the year; if you live in one of these states and make an estimated payment during tax season but don’t pay enough during those months (or at all), there’s a chance you’ll receive a bill from your state after submitting your federal return.

Don't Overwhelm Yourself

It’s never too late to get started. Take it one step at a time, and don’t try to do everything at once. Tackle the biggest challenges first and then move to more manageable things. You might be surprised at how easy it is to get back on track if you take things one day or even one hour at a time. And don’t forget about all of those resources available online—you’ll find tax preparation software as well as video tutorials that can make preparing your return less stressful and more rewarding, no matter how little you’ve done so far. Whether you’re trying to learn how to file an amended tax return or figuring out what documents are needed when filing taxes, there are plenty of resources available right here in New Jersey that can help you succeed with ease.

Know What Information You Need

It’s not always easy to know what information you need to file your taxes, especially if you’re a first-time filer. If you don’t have all of your receipts and financial records, it’s okay; there are other ways to gather some of that data. For example, if you own a business or drive for Uber or Lyft, all of your earnings should be recorded and available online; call your bank and credit card companies and request copies of last year’s statements. Try making a list—even an incomplete one—of all sources of income, as well as expenses such as mortgage payments, childcare costs, and charitable donations. These steps will help give you an idea of how much tax you might owe or even whether it makes sense to complete your return at all.

How Long Will This Take?

Although there is a time limit for getting your tax return filed, you may have some wiggle room. There’s no need to panic if you’re still working on things a few days before April 15th. Still, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later so that you can avoid penalties or interest charges. Don’t leave filing to chance—organize your paperwork now and get started as soon as possible.

Don't Wait Until the Last Minute to File

If you’ve been putting off filing your tax return, don’t wait until April 15th to do it. The IRS won’t accept any paper returns before January 28th and depending on how complicated your taxes are, you may need more time than that to file. Even if you pay someone else to prepare your taxes, it’s best to give them as much time as possible so they can provide you with all of the information and documents you need. If you know what documents are needed ahead of time (e.g., W-2 or 1099 forms from your employer or investment manager), try asking for them in December so that when it comes time to file taxes, things move more quickly and smoothly.

Make Time for Accounting Software

For many people, tax preparation involves a mad scramble to get all their information together. One mistake that can be made when you’re working under a tight deadline is using an Excel spreadsheet or piece of paper to manage your tax information. While these methods may work in certain situations, it’s important to know that if your situation is more complex, you should probably use accounting software—not only will it help you file in time, but there are specific functions that are designed specifically for tax management. No matter what method you choose to use, having one set way of filing taxes will make life easier come next April.

Do Your Taxes or Hire Someone?

Tax laws are complex, and it’s easy to make mistakes if you’re doing your taxes yourself. Many of us know enough about tax preparation to get by, but that can be dangerous: In fact, in 2014 more than 5.6 million Americans filed their returns incorrectly (which led to a big refund delay) or didn’t file at all because they made a mistake and then got stumped when they couldn’t figure out how to fix it. If you’ve been procrastinating on filing your tax return because you don’t understand something, now is a good time to ask for help from someone who does—either an accountant or a friend/family member who has helped with taxes before.

Ask For Help If You Need It

If you’re struggling to prepare your tax return by yourself, don’t be afraid to ask someone else to help. A tax professional can help you avoid simple mistakes and make sure that everything is done correctly. If you prefer to do it yourself, some tax software programs are very easy to use. You should take extra care when inputting data into a tax program, however, as doing so incorrectly could lead to a delay in getting your refund or additional penalties from the IRS. Ask friends and family if they’d be willing to look over your work; it’s never too late to learn something new!