It’s that lovely time of year again. Time for filing taxes. We all know it’s coming but that doesn’t always mean we are any more prepared. It’s akin to the preparations for Christmas, particularly Christmas shopping, without all the excitement. Somehow, organizing receipts and gathering lots of forms and paperwork just doesn’t seem to have the same effect as picking out the perfect gift.
Contrary to popular belief, it is actually NOT good to receive a large tax refund. When you receive a large tax refund, you overpaid the government all year long, and rather than your money working for you (earning interest, paying off debt, tackling a home improvement project, or supporting a ministry or cause dear to your heart), you allowed the government to use your extra money to do with it as they pleased. Unfortunately, it is normal in our culture to anticipate a large tax refund check in order to splurge on our latest wants, rather than telling our inner self to be more diligent all year long. If we stepped back and looked at the big picture, we would see that most Americans are paying lots of interest to use other people’s money, via credit cards, home equity lines, etc. But, when there is an opportunity to pay off some of that debt with a tax refund, we use it instead to get our latest desire and start the cycle all over again. All the while, we don’t realize we are drowning under the pressure and weight of money troubles the rest of the year.
Instead, look at filing taxes as the reconciling of your money year over year. It’s a great place to pause and see how you achieved your goals the previous year, and where you can make improvements for the next year. It also can shine a light on anything that might need a little extra focus.
Here are 3 resources to ease the burden when filing taxes:
- Find a reputable tax professional: If you are filing by software or any of the pop up shops around, you are missing a huge asset for you and your family’s financial health. By building a relationship with a good tax professional, you have an advocate on your side who specializes in taxes and helping your money succeed for you. They also will help you avoid costly mistakes. We have had a few friends end up owing THOUSANDS of dollars several years after they filed their taxes on their own, because of honest mistakes. A reputable tax professional should be seen as an investment into your sanity, insurance for your honest mistakes, and a wealth of knowledge to help you. We have personally had a great experience using Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Provider for our tax services. If you are unfamiliar with what the Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) program is, read more about it here.
- Save your sanity by using 1Password: It never fails. I need to login to an account for the first time since the last year I was filing my taxes and I cannot figure out where it is on the web and what is my most up to date username and password. Or I am in a meeting with our CPA and need to access one piece of information that is missing, and I do not have the login info on my phone. That all changed with 1Password. Everything is stored, synced, and accessible from all of my devices. 1Password also makes adding new logins a snap. This is definitely something you can work on over time, but it is not that difficult to get rolling with it either. First, purchase the app here. By using this link, you will be helping me with my taxes, too! After you have purchased the app (trust me, it is worth every penny!), check out this video for step by step instructions on how to get it all set up.
- Create password protected compressed files on your Mac using Keka: Once I have everything gathered in Evernote and I’m ready to send it to our CPA, I export the files to my desktop and use Keka to compress and password protect them before emailing them over. You can always hand deliver them to your CPA, which I recommend if you have any questions or need any advice, but I prefer one less trip when it’s business as usual. You can purchase Keka through the App Store for $1.99 or download for free from their site. I know it can seem sketchy to download from an unknown site, so the App Store option is a safe bet.
Purchase Keka then download & install
- Open the app & choose .zip file at the top
- Set your password for the compressed file package
- Select all the files you want to compress together and then drag and drop them onto the Keka display.
- Your new password protected compressed file is now in the same location as your documents.
- Attach that to your email and then be sure to tell your CPA what your password is in a separate notification.
- If your compressed file is still too big, you can always create two and email them separately.
There you have it. Three resources I use for filing taxes that ease the burden tremendously. I hope they help YOU!
Join The Conversation: What other resources do you use for filing taxes? Do you have any further questions about the ones I mentioned? I’m happy to help! You can leave a comment by clicking here.