Tuesday, March 19, 2013

6 MUST READ Tax Tips to Save You Money

Have you filed your taxes yet? The deadline is just around the corner so odds are - the stress is building. Whether you use a popular tax software, file by mail or online or hire a professional tax service - these 6 tips will help save you time and money.

1. Planning Ahead Saves Money - Many business owners put off filing their taxes until the last minute, but procrastinating can cost you extra. As the deadline approaches you may start to notice that tax preparation costs increase. Late filers are often disorganized which can result in extra late fees and missed deductions. Know your standard and corporate tax deadlines so you can plan ahead and be confident with your preparations.

2. Proper Documentation - Everyone dreads getting audited so it's best to start out on the right foot. Be sure you have proper documentation to substantiate your claims. Save copies of your tax return as well as receipts and any other paperwork used to prepare your taxes for 3 years. Proper documentation insures you are filing accurate tax forms and will save you the headache in the unfortunate event that you are audited.

3. Pick the Right Professional - Professional tax preparation can be an invaluable asset to businesses and individuals with complex personal finances. If you decide to employ a professional tax preparer, find someone who is reputable, local and always make sure they sign the return.

4. Go Digital and Save - In many cases, filing your taxes onlines saves you money plus the IRS and Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) offer direct deposit for refund payments. The earlier you file the faster you can get your refund via direct deposit.

5. Keep Personal Info Secure - Remember that your tax information includes personal identifying information as well. Keep all documents and sensitive information on non-public computers and devices (like discs or jump drives). Always use a secure Wi-fi network to transmit information and beware of emailing to unsecured mailboxes. Tax returns are targeted by identity thieves so it pays to be cautious.

6. Beware of Scams - Tax scams can come in all shapes and sizes and even from people you trust. Be cautious and stay informed and ALWAYS read before signing any legal document.

As Ben Franklin so infamously put it, "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes." While I don't believe one should dwell on death - let's spend more time making our business sucess more 'certain' and less time worrying about taxes.

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