My mother-in-law was very happy today. Four popped collars happy. So happy, in fact, she gave me not one, but two high-fives.
Her taxes were finished. Practically signed, sealed, and delivered. Just waiting on one form from an investment firm that was overdue, but otherwise, done and done!
She didn’t have a simple return, either. Let’s just say that her tax situation this year was … complicated. State taxes for three different states was just the start.
Yet the tax return, crazy as it was, only took a meeting of a couple of hours with a tax preparer. How did she do it?
In essence, she had been preparing her taxes from January 1st of last year until now. Her payoff was an easy meeting with the tax preparer.
Through experience, she had learned the kinds of records she needed to keep for tax purposes. She knew the big sources of deductions that pertained to her and my father-in-law’s work, and organized them accordingly. The records were already in one place, categorized and ready to go for the meeting with her tax preparer.
She had a fairly painless tax preparation season. I won’t have such a painless one. It will take more than two hours, for sure, because I still have to assemble a lot of records to get ours done. My records aren’t well-organized. This year is off to a better start, but that’s this year, not last year.
H&R Block At Home has made it easy for me the past three years to get our taxes done, but that assumes that I have my ducks in a row. No program — no tax preparer, really — can make up for disorganization.
Pay now, or pay later. The choice is yours how easily you get your taxes done!