Austin Tax Blog

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Escobar & Associates has been in the tax business for a long time, and we specialize in helping people out of difficult situations with the IRS in Austin, TX, or anywhere in the world.  We realize that everyone is busy and that dealing with complicated bookkeeping, tax laws, and tax preparation probably are not at the top of your daily to-do list.  However, taking some simple steps now will help save you time, money, and loads of stress down the road if you choose to handle this monumental task on your own.

While we are here to help for any of your bookkeeping and tax issues, we want to provide some tips for making tax season and tax preparation a simple, stress-free task.

1. Collect and Save Your Documents

The first step is to make sure you keep the paperwork you’ll need to have your taxes filed correctly.  You want to keep track of all your receipts, business expenses, mortgage payments, donations, and past tax returns and supporting documents.  Take a look at past tax returns to help create a list of the supporting documents you should keep track of during the year.  If you aren’t sure if you may need a document later- go ahead and hold onto it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Create a Filing System

As tempting as it may be, you don’t really want to keep all your documents just shoved in a box- it’ll be a nightmare to sort come tax time, and difficult to discern if something important is missing.  If you keep your past tax returns, that is terrific!  They may be needed down the road, especially if you have an issue with your taxes.  However, just as with your current tax documents, you want to make sure past tax returns and the supporting documents are filed away by year and not just thrown haphazardly into a box.  No one likes to sort through stacks of paper searching for one document when time is short already.

A great way to keep things organized is by utilizing a filing cabinet and hanging file folders or if you prefer to take up a smaller amount of space an accordion folder will do the trick.  Create a file folder/section for each year of past returns and store the tax return and documents in the file folder for easy access.  As you receive tax documents in the mail, file them away immediately, into that tax year’s file folder.  This way documents will not get lost in stacks of unsorted and neglected mail.  It is also an excellent idea to keep electronic records, filed neatly as well.

3. Remain Organized!

It is so easy to procrastinate!  Tax season seems a long way off and after a long day at work, it is more appealing to just sit and relax.  However, staying focused on the prize of a stress-free or less stressful tax season will pay off, only if you remain organized.  Make it a habit of putting documents directly into the file folder, instead of setting them in a ‘deal with it later’ pile.

4. Find Help.

For some people, taxes are simple.  They take the standard deductions and file a simple return.  Many of us don’t have it this easy.  Tax laws can be confusing and change constantly, leaving people wondering if they are doing it right and in a lot of trouble if they do it wrong.  If you are frustrated, confused, or just plain don’t have time to deal with your taxes, we recommend finding a tax professional you can trust to help complete the job.

At Escobar & Associates, we are here to help with personal and business bookkeeping, tax preparation, questions, and emergency situations including handling problems with the IRS, in and out of Austin, TX.  Instead of spending hours trying to brush up on new tax laws and requirements, you will be able to take your file folder for the year into your personal tax professional and drop it off.  You will know they have the knowledge and skills to complete your return in a timely manner and with your best interest in mind.  Save time, money, and stress by looking now for a firm and/or person you can trust with your 2016 tax return!

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