Tips to Help You Prepare for Tax Day

Tips to Help You Prepare for Tax Day

April 05, 2023

It's that time of year again when we pull together our key documents and calculate what part of our earnings should be paid to the government — or how much they owe us. If you haven't already, it is high time to start considering how you'll tackle your federal tax filing in 2022! Here are a few pieces of advice as you get ready for Tax Day on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023.

Gather your paperwork

First thing first: collect all of your documents and make sure everything is in order. Do you prefer to use online services to organize your information such as Expensify, Quickbooks, KeeperTax, or Wave? Or do you rely on your own DIY spreadsheets? Regardless of how you keep yourself organized, spend a little time in advance looking everything over so that you aren't running around at the last minute searching for important information. Even if you’re never audited, it's incredibly important to make sure that your records are current.

Check your IRS account online

If you haven't already, set up your free online account with the IRS. All you need is a valid photo ID. With your online account, you can access recent tax records, view your balance, create or maintain a payment plan, make and view payments to the US Treasury, manage communication preferences, and access other useful information.

Decide who will prepare your taxes

Do you typically prepare and file your own taxes? Do you have a CPA? If nothing remarkable has happened since the last tax season, you're probably fine to continue preparing and filing your taxes as you have done in the past. On the other hand, if you've gotten married or divorced or experienced a major life change such as starting a business, your tax situation will likely be more complex than you're used to. Be sure to plan ahead, as many tax professionals will charge more the closer the filing deadline gets.

Max out any retirement plan contributions

Maximizing your savings through tax-deferred retirement accounts can be a great way to reduce your overall taxable income. 2022 contribution limits for 401(k) accounts are $20,500, plus $6,500 in catch-up contributions if you’re 50 or older, and $6,000 plus $1,000 in catch-up contributions for IRA accounts. Furthermore, assuming you have a high-deductible health plan and are eligible, consider contributing as much as possible to your health savings account (HSA), as they are triple tax-advantaged on the federal level.

Make sure beneficiary designations are current

As beneficiary designations don’t alter your taxes now, they will affect the taxes of your beneficiaries in the future. Tax season is a great time to review beneficiaries and make sure they are up to date to help minimize the taxes your beneficiaries and heirs will pay on your assets after you die.

Plan ahead if you’re filing later 

If you're unable to meet the filing deadline, save yourself (and your preparer) last-minute stress by filing an extension ahead of time. But remember, while an extension means you have more time to file your return, your taxes are still due on or before April 18.  

Don’t ignore the IRS

As much as the IRS might scare you, scarier still is the prospect of ignoring them. Whether you don’t file your taxes, you file but don't pay, or you owe back taxes, etc., ignoring the IRS will not make them go away. In fact, ignoring the situation has the chance to make matters worse, as the IRS can impose penalties and seize assets if necessary.

Goals-based financial planning leads to healthier, happier, and more satisfying results — and your tax strategy plays a role in that. As a part of our approach to financial planning, I am here if you have any questions.