A new year is here–2019! Now begins the countdown to April 15, tax day. Typically, I have found people are in two camps when it comes to taxes: one, they will have their taxes done January 2 or two, will wait till April 15. When is the best time to prepare your taxes and what are some helpful tools to make this process easier?

The timing is really simple. File your taxes when you have all the relevant information you need. Some people love to go find all their tax documents online as soon as they are prepared, others would rather wait until the documents are sent to them by mail. Either way, take financial inventory and know what documents you’ll need. It’s never fun to file your taxes and get an additional document from a bank you forgot you had.

Pro Tip: One of the best things I ever did was download a scanner app on my smartphone. The second I receive any tax document, I scan and save it on my desktop. If you use a CPA, this app makes it simple to upload or email documents them when the time is right. If you use a tax preparation software, it allows you to have all your documents in one place on the same device you are doing your taxes.

Another question when it comes to taxes is doing them yourself versus asking a professional for help. This really depends on your financial situation. If you’re a business owner, I highly recommend working with a CPA. A big red flag for the IRS is business owners filing their own taxes. If you itemize or have complex financial situations, a CPA will be valuable team member who will know tax laws and make sure you’re taking advantage of all deductions and credits available to you. Lastly, if you are claiming the standard deduction (which increased significantly this year) you can probably save a good amount of money by filing your taxes yourself. Tax preparation software has come a long way over the years and is very simple to use.

Pro Tip: Make filing your own taxes fun. If you’re filing your taxes yourself, go get a cup of your favorite coffee and listen to your favorite music while you do the most boring job in the world–your taxes.

Did you know you can make retirement contributions for your 2018 taxes until April 15? Stewardship Financial can help you make wise decisions on the best retirement accounts for you to help minimize your tax liability for 2018. We would love to talk to you more about this! Simply click the link below to schedule some time to talk.