Friday, March 12, 2010

It's Tax Time!

As the old saying goes, there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. And what time of year is it? Why, tax time, of course! The time when accountants across the land are busily crunching numbers and good old John Q. Public is busy biting his nails. How much more fun could you ask for?

I’m the resident income tax preparer in our little group. I actually don’t mind – which is good beings no one else wants to do it! I only take care of the personal taxes, however, and not the taxes for Horn's Jewelry. But between all of us and a few friends and relatives, I stay plenty busy. Here are a couple of tips to make tax time less stressful.

Keep Good Records

It may be too late for the 2009 tax year but certainly not for 2010. Especially if you’ve started a new home based business, keeping good records is crucial. In a previous post, I talked about but I’d like to mention them again. After discovering them in January, I entered all my 2009 info for both my freelance writing and custom memorial quilt businesses. When it came time to fill out my federal tax return, actually generated the needed Schedule C forms for me! It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Don’t Make It Harder Than It Has To Be

I also use TurboTax Home & Business for all our tax prep. I used to buy the H&R Block or J.K. Lassiter tax guide each year and study like crazy but now I let the software do all that for me. I still stay on top of tax changes and double check the completed forms to make sure nothing is amiss but it sure is nice to just enter the info and have the program put it all in the right place and make all the calculations. Pretty much eliminates the inevitable human errors that tend to occur when using a calculator and filling forms out by hand.

The IRS also has a terrific website where you can access all the forms and publications and more info than you’ll ever want to read. Anything you need to know about your federal taxes is right there, neatly organized and readily available 24/7. Have fun!

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