What? You’re still not done with your taxes?
Today is the deadline for filing your taxes, and if you are still reading this and haven’t put your tax obligations behind you yet, you only have a few hours – not days – to get it done before incurring some potentially unfriendly late-fee penalties from the IRS.
While there’s nothing procrastinators can do to avoid the late rush to the post office or the nervous tension that comes from hoping your mouse click registered your return before midnight tonight, there’s no reason you can’t learn from this tax season and avoid all the last-minute hassles in preparation for next year.
The , who won the recent , has a few solutions you might find helpful in the future. Bryan Bibbo of JL Smith said it’s best to collect any mail that says taxes on the front and store it away ASAP.
“Keep a folder for the whole year that says, ‘tax,’ for that year for 2011, 2012 or whatever year it is. Every time you get a piece of paper in the mail, put it into that folder. … When you feel you have most of the documents, I tell my clients to bring it in and schedule their appointment ahead of time,” Bibbo, the controller and a tax preparer for JL Smith, said.
Having everything ahead of time makes it easier for you to handle the situation whether you are early or late in filling your return. But taking your good, old sweet time and going over the deadline has its consequences.
“There’s no reason to procrastinate,” Bibbo, 25, said. “And the extension rules have been changed. If you owe money, and you filed an extension, you are going to get hit with a penalty for late payments. So that will really hurt you.”
But Bibbo said many people wait too late for fear of confronting the very burden of tax filling. It’s a mental challenge, but one that most can overcome. And besides, it can be quite profitable.
“Taxes aren’t as scary as everybody makes them out to be. It’s all psychological," Bibbo said. “A lot of people are due refunds. I have clients that come in that didn’t file taxes for the last three years and then they’re due refunds for all those years just because they were afraid to file or were anxious.”