Today is April 15th. You know what that means. While it would be nice if tax filing were voluntary, it’s not. Are you scrambling around today, trying to get everything finished up? If so, there are some things you can start doing right now in order to avoid this same problem next year. But first, Duncan Conner, editor of Company.com, has some suggestions for how you can reduce some of the pressure on you today:
“You have to file,” Connor says. “If you don’t, the penalties can be quite large. A small business can be put out of business pretty quick, and individuals can find themselves in financial trouble. If you aren’t ready to file a full return, though, you can file for an extension.”
Conner points out that while you won’t have the mess of paperwork due until October 15, you will still have to pay your taxes, if you owe. “You still need to estimate how much you owe, and pay it, but you can buy yourself a little more time to make sure everything is in order if you file for an extension.”
If you really aren’t ready to file today, Conner makes it clear that it is a good idea to file an extension. “You don’t want to do your taxes in a hurry. If you file in a hurry, you will miss things that will end up costing you in the end. You don’t have to have a reason; anyone can get an extension, although if you have an S-Corp. you need to contact the IRS because the deadline to file an extension passed in March.”
Avoiding the last minute tax rush next year
If you want to avoid the same issues next year, Conner suggests that you hire someone to help you out. “If you are a business, a bookkeeper or CPA is a great investment if you can afford it,” he says. “Such a person can keep your paperwork in order all year, and can help you with estimated taxes.”
If you can’t afford such services, Conner recommends software. “Bookkeeping software is usually affordable, and it will keep you up to date. It’s perfect for keeping track of items for deductions or credits.”
You should also be more organized. Create a file for receipts and other documentation related to taxes. Then, keep everything together throughout the year. It will make your organization that much easier when tax time rolls around again.