How to File Your Tax Return When You’re Busy

Filing your taxes takes forever. Right?

At least that’s what we hear. Ask any Joe or Jane Schmo on the street, and you’ll hear the same thing. Taxes are a long process that can take days or weeks.

It’s really rarely that bad, but it’s that pervasive perception that often makes people procrastinate and procrastinate until it’s just about down to the wire. This can force people to file for unnecessary extensions, and even miss the deadline.

It doesn’t need to be that way. You don’t need to let this image of the tax filing process get in the way of your tax return.

Of course, we can’t deny it: The tax filing process isn’t going to take you fifteen minutes. Like just about anything, if you want to do them right and do them well, you’re going to need to put some time in.

But your taxes are a lot more manageable than people give them credit for—and we’re not just saying that because we help thousands of taxpayers with their taxes each year. We may be old hands, but you can be an expert, too.

So here’s a few tips to filing your tax return when your schedule just doesn’t seem conducive to it. If you’re willing to dedicate the time and effort, you can get your taxes wrapped up in no time!

File Your Tax Return in No Time

Your taxes really don’t have to take as long as you think they do. Sure, they’ll take some time—but these strategies can help you minimize the strain on your schedule and help you file fast.

Make a Schedule

Making a schedule for tax season may be the single best thing you can do to get your taxes done.

It’s simple: Just organize the work you need to do into itemized tasks, and then plug those into your calendar! The trick to beating your busy schedule is to break them into small enough tasks and start them early enough so you have plenty of time to finish them.

The trick is to break up your tax return filing process into small enough tasks that you can fit them into fifteen to thirty-minute chunks. These chunks can be readily fit into your daily routine—from fifteen extra minutes before you leave to work to part of your lunch to while you’re cooking dinner.

We have to say it: We recommend you start filing your tax return early. Like, February early. Not only can you beat some of the tax season rush, but you’ll take the stress off your plate before it even starts. But think about it.

Here’s a sample breakdown:

  • Organize your receipts: 1 hr, before bed.
  • Organize your tax forms: 30 minutes, during lunch.
  • Print tax forms/Call tax prep service/Sign into online tax software: 15 minutes, while dinner is in the oven.
  • Fill out your personal information: 15 minutes, before leaving for work.
  • Fill out your income: 30 minutes, during lunch.
  • Fill out your deductions: 30 minutes, before bed.

Obviously, you’ll need to tune this breakdown to your own schedule, but doesn’t the whole thing feel easier when you don’t have to do your taxes all in one sitting?

Create a File for All Your Paperwork

Organization is the secret weapon of CPAs all over the country.

And it can be your secret weapon, too. All you have to do is choose it. Whether paper or digital, a file can be a huge benefit to your tax filing process, as you can save yourself the trouble—and time—that comes along with hunting down your various tax forms.

It happens so easily. You place what looks like tax docs from your employer in the mail pile, but a few days later, the mail from your stock broker ends up in the den by your computer. Before you know it, you have five different tax documents in four different locations! Between your tax forms, your receipts, and your other documentation, you’re in a prime position to be overwhelmed when it’s time to file your taxes.

Keeping a dedicated location for your tax documents will save you a lot of trouble and a lot of time. How much easier would it be to file your taxes if you knew when you filed you’d simply need to remove a folder from your desk drawer and have all the information you needed?

Work Digitally When Possible

In 2019, paper is okay—but for saving time, digital is better.

First thing’s first. There’s no hard rule at the IRS about which format they prefer. However, e-filing your taxes can have major benefits when it comes to the timeliness of your tax refund. It can also really help you reduce your clutter and make the tax filing process easier and faster.

You can stay just as organized on your computer as you can when using paper (though, to be fair, many of your tax documents will still be received by mail). The trick here is to take full advantage of the paperless options available to you by your bank, your stockbroker, and the lender for your student loans. Using tax software or the IRS’s preferred e-file system can allow you to work faster, in increments, and give you a leg up.

Get Help

When you’re working on a tight schedule, there’s only so much you can do to save time.

You can file digitally, you can try out different systems for organizing, and you can work out ways to break up the tax return filing process. And trust us—these all work wonders. If you’re intimidated by your taxes, and you’re looking for some hacks to getting around the mental block and getting things done, you’ve got everything you need.

But even these methods still take time. If you’re looking for ways to save even more time and better fold the tax filing process into your busy schedule, hiring a tax preparation service may be the way to go. Schedule a call with the right tax prep service or a CPA and you can put your worries to rest.

Of course, you’ll need to get them your tax documentation. But at least they’re doing the heavy lifting—and they know tax code top to bottom.

Make Time for Your Taxes

Whatever method you choose, you’re going to be spending some time on your taxes. The amount of time can vary, but that’s a fact of life. However, if you’re overwhelmed by the thought of getting started, there are some simple ways to speed up and spread out the tax filing process that can make things a lot easier once you get started. And if your daily calendar is as full as ours, trust us: Giving them a try will be a game changer.

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