3 Simple Steps to Get Through the Last Month Before Taxes Are Due

We went ahead to compile a list of a few tips which can come in handy as we enter the “oh-I-still-need-to-finish-filing” phase of the tax season.

Tax season is here and most of us are stressing out and trying to get our act together before the April 18 deadline.

Individuals and small businesses like you have found their way to productivity by eliminating paperwork in their day-to-day transactions and quite often, we hear from them about how they tackle the tax season and paperwork woes.

The insights we have gathered from them are simple and effective, with staying paperless and well-organized being the regular takeaway. We went ahead to compile a list of a few such tips which can come in handy as we enter the “oh-I-still-need-to-finish-filing” phase of the tax season (we know you already have a lot of lists to deal with this tax season, so we promise to keep this short).

1. Let D-Day stay on top of your mind

In the rush of work, it’s easy to lose track of time and days. One fine morning when you wake up, all that you are left with are few more days ’till you hit the deadline. To save yourself from the hopeless scramble that ensues, start early.

Make a list of what needs to be done (however small the activity is) and span it across the limited time that you have at hand. Once you have charted this out, the only thing you need to do is to stick to it and not procrastinate.

2. Compile all the required documents

One of the biggest reasons for stress during tax time is not finding your relevant documents in time and sometimes even forgetting to take them into account. To avoid this, the first step of your list needs to be putting together all of the documents.

Look for all of those receipts, investment documents and other records you need for tax filing and consolidate them in one central location. If you are not able to do this in one go, spread this activity across few days and a weekend. Starting off slow when you have enough time is better than doing things in a jiffy right when you wake up to the deadline.

3. Start the e-filing process!

In case you have been filing taxes on your own, after step 2 you are all set to start your e-filing process. And if not, get in touch with a tax preparer to sail through the tax filing process.

The latest guidelines issued by IRS has brought Form 8878 and Form 8879 (Electronic Return Originator authorization forms for individual taxpayers) under the scope of electronic signatures. For the uninitiated, Form 8879 is an IRS e-file signature authorization form that authorizes an ERO to enter the taxpayers’ PINs on individual income tax returns. Form 8878 is an IRS e-file authorization form for application of extension of time to file taxes, that authorizes an ERO to enter the taxpayers’ PINs on Forms 4868 and 2350.

Before, when going by the ERO method, taxpayers had to physically sign these authorization forms either in the ERO’s office or sign the physical copy and send it via mail or fax. But with the recent e-signature guidance, you can now authorize your EROs even remotely by choosing to electronically sign your authorization documents and simply e-mailing them to their tax preparer. (Yes, this method is IRS compliant.)

This not only makes e-filing process hassle-free, quick, and smooth, but it also saves a bit of your money too, which you would otherwise end up spending getting your authorization forms mailed to the ERO.

Using SignEasy to help with e-filing:

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Amrita Premrajan is Content Strategist and Marketer at SignEasy. Featured by Google, Apple and loved by 3.5 million users, SignEasy is a cloud-based solution to sign and fill documents from smartphones, tablets and web. SignEasy helps individuals and businesses reduce turnaround times, close deals faster and cut costs by eliminating the cycle of printing, scanning and faxing of paperwork.

5 Ways to Go Green While Filing Your Taxes in 2014

Tax season is the perfect time to start implementing green, environmentally friendly practices into your daily work routine. These five tips will help you get started.

Tax season has officially arrived, and with it comes a great opportunity for entrepreneurs! Now I know I just used the words “tax” and “great” in the same sentence when they typically tend to be as far apart as you can get them, but tax season is actually the perfect time to start implementing green, environmentally friendly practices into your daily work routine. These five tips will help you get started.

1. Digitize as you work

I understand why only a few people have moved past keeping physical records. Digitization can take a lot of time, and old habits die hard. However, continuing to ask for, or printing out, physical copies of every important document and receipt can have a really negative affect on the environment. We already waste too much paper, so why add to the problem? As you begin to work on your returns, scan important documents (or use Shoeboxed) so that you can access the digital versions easily. In the following months, opt to receive electronic copies of bank statements, receipts, and other necessary records whenever possible.

2. eFile

Did you know that the IRS has been experimenting with eFiling since 1986? Even back then, most government agencies had recognized the need to modernize and eFiling was seen as a great way to help clear out storage space and use less paper. 28 years later, and eFiling is now the most popular way to file returns. Back in 2012, nearly 80% of all returns were filed electronically. According to accounting firm H&R Block, over 28,000 trees were saved during the 2011 tax season thanks to eFiling. If you haven’t started eFiling, this tax season is a great year to start. Federal eFiling is free and, though some states charge for eFiling, the fee is nominal and you really help the environment by going and staying digital.

3. Think before you print

A lot of people I know who work on their own taxes like having printouts of IRS regulations so they can keep them on the table and look at them whenever they need to. And, while that system works, it is a waste of paper. The IRS has made it easier than ever before to search through digital copies of instructions and forms, and a quick search is much more efficient than sorting through stacks of paper. Try using only digital copies of IRS rules and instructions – you’d be surprised at how much easier it is to hang onto these documents and share them with other entrepreneurs doing their taxes too.

4. Recycle whatever paper you use

No matter how green you go, it’s still tough to get through the tax season without using some paper. Maybe you have a notebook that you use to add receipts, or maybe you like having a stack of Post-It notes handy so you can quickly scrawl down form numbers or instructions. Whatever the case, you’ll inevitably use some paper, and that’s fine – just make sure you also remember to use that lovely little recycling bin next to your desk when you’re done.

5. Take advantage of ‘green’ tax credits

One great incentive to going digital for your taxes is that the government rewards people and businesses that are trying to go green. Though a few of the most popular green tax incentives expired in 2011, there are still plenty of tax breaks available to the environmentally conscious. One credit will cover 30% of new renewable energy systems installed in residential homes, and buying and installing certain Energy Star products can also net you a nice tax credit. Also, if you supported a qualified environmental charity, you can also deduct the donations made to them in 2013!

Going green with your taxes might seem difficult at first, but if you’ve been toying with trying to live a more environmentally conscious life, tax season is a great opportunity to do just that. Opt for electronic record keeping, eFile your returns, recycle whatever paper you do use, and don’t forget to claim whatever green-related tax breaks you can. Once you start changing the way you work, you’ll quickly find yourself changing the way you live.

Author Bio:

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.