Now that Tax Day has passed you can rest easy, appreciating the fact that most tax-related stressors and concerns have come to an end. Even still, there is a handful of key things you’ll need to keep track of regarding this year’s return before completely putting tax season behind you.
There are also a few simple ways to help ensure you experience a smoother, stress-free tax season next year. Read on below for our top post-tax season tips to help guarantee you’re protected and prepared for any tax-related concern that might arise.
Understand the real deal with deadlines (and extensions)
If you’ve filed for a tax extension, you have an extra six months to file with an October deadline. The often confusing factor here is that this extension does not provide you with additional time to actually pay any taxes you owe. For instance, if you’re certain you’re getting a refund, you have until October 15 to simply file all of your tax forms. However, if you owe any taxes, you were required to estimate the dollar amount and complete payment by the regular April deadline. If you’re unsure of how to best proceed, review your tax situation and any applicable tips on the IRS website.
Keep track of your filing status and refund
If you’re concerned that you may have made an error when filing your return, don’t worry too much. While you can’t file another one to replace it, you can file an amendment to your return using the form 1040X (Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return). Unfortunately, even if you filed your taxes electronically, this amendment must be printed, filed on paper and mailed directly to the IRS. Learn more about amended tax returns here.
If you’re confident that your tax return was filed successfully and correctly, you should still keep an eye out for any communications from the IRS that require your attention. Often times, this could mean a quick fix as simple as providing additional paperwork, receipts or other documentation, so you wouldn’t want to miss any tax-related follow-up needs. You can also track the status of your refund, either via tools from the IRS or through the e-filing software you used to file initially.
Hold on to documents from this tax season
Given the sensitive nature of tax-related documents, it’s important to store them in a safe, secure manner. This includes your 2018 tax returns as well as that of previous years, receipts, W-2s and all other financial and tax-related documents. In case of an audit - or even a simple issue with your return - you should hold on to tax records and receipts for at least three years. Beyond this period, the chance you’ll need such documents drops significantly. Some exceptions here include any employment tax records which you should keep for at least four years, and hold onto paperwork and receipts for major assets such as your home and other properties for even longer (including documentation detailing any significant improvements you’ve made on these).
Start preparing for next year right now
If you make better organization practices a healthy habit and file key documents responsibly throughout the year, tax season will never be a struggle or cause of anxiety again. The best method to get organized? Go paperless. This is a simple way to maintain accurate records that can be stored, identified and accessed instantly with the click of a button. Not only does going paperless eliminate clutter in your home and office, but it also significantly reduces the risk of losing or misfiling key documents. Easy-to-use scanners make going paperless and digital organization a breeze. With optical character recognition that enables keyword sorting for searchable files, the ScanSnap iX1500 scans, digitizes and stores files directly to your preferred cloud service. For smaller spaces in your home, consider the ScanSnap iX100 as an equally powerful but more compact alternative.
Our scanners also include receipt and document management apps which are extremely valuable for tax preparation. Rather than scrambling frantically come March or April to gather receipts and organize forms for employers, health insurance, student loans or other common tax-related documents, you should be scanning and digitizing these items year-round. To prevent the loss of these vital records to a technology mishap, natural disaster or hack, back up everything with cloud-based software. ScanSnap iX Series scanners are compatible with versatile platforms like Google Drive, Evernote, Box and others.
What other steps are you taking to prepare for a smoother, more organized tax season?