Tax season is here and the return deadline (April 15) is coming up quickly. While those who have already filed prior to the due date are wondering, “Where is my tax return?” those of you who waited till the eleventh hour to file may be scrambling to get your important papers gathered. Being a procrastinator myself, I decided to reach out to the tax professionals at Neatology, an online community founded by The Neat Company, which offers expert financial advice and tips to people within the community.

They were able to offer a number of tips for being prepared and avoiding filing mistakes during tax season. Check them out below.

Tax Return Deadline Tips: How To Avoid The Tax Hangover By Being Prepared And Avoiding Filing Mistakes

Tips #1– Find Out What Documents You Should Bring With You Before The Appointment

when is tax return due date where is my return how to file avoid mistakes prepare tips tricks apps organize Calling your tax preparation professional before your appointment is a good idea for avoiding filing mistakes and being prepared. Wikimedia

 

Every person’s taxes are different, depending on their work situation and financial sources so checking in with your CPA or tax professional before the visit is best, says Carrie Smith, a former small business accountant and founder of CarefulCents.com,  

“This is a question to verify with your own CPA or tax professional to make sure you don't miss a tax document, but basically you want to have all of your income documents, from a W-2 or 1099, and any interest forms you receive from the bank or other financial institution. As far as reports go, the most popular reports you should print out include expense reports, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets for liabilities and assets.”

Tip #2 – Remember To Check All Electronic Accounts For Documentation

when is tax return due date where is my return how to file avoid mistakes prepare tips tricks apps organize Forgetting to print electronic documents is a common mistake tax filers make. Wikimedia

According to Dan Franks, a Certified Public Accountant who specializes in tax consulting for small business owners and entrepreneurs, forgetting about electronic documentation is a huge mistake many tax filers make.

“One of the biggest problems I’ve seen this year is that many banks, insurance companies, etc. are providing tax documents online instead of sending them by mail. The result is, many clients are only bringing us what they got in the mail, but mortgage statements, tuition statements, stock sales reports, etc. that are now provided online have been forgotten. This can create a mad rush to try to pull documents together if you are someone who waits until the last minute to bring the documents to your preparer.”

Tip #3 - Set Up Some System For Keeping Receipts And Other Documents

 tax return due date where is my return when is how to file avoid mistakes prepare tips tricks apps organize Digging through your purse for receipts at the last moment isn't the most ideal way to prepare for tax season. Wikimedia

While this tip may seem like a no-brainer, according to Smith, not being organized with receipts to track expenses is one of the number one issues people have when tax filing time comes.

“You want to make sure you claim all the deductions you qualify for, so you don't pay more taxes than you have to,” says Smith.  “Even something as simple as a file folder or box for receipts is better than throwing them in your purse, or the trash throughout the year. Then once tax season is here, simply go through everything to categorize it, verify the expense and save it in a file, or upload it to your Neat cloud account. The key is to keep everything related to the current tax year's season together. In the event you're audited, you want to easily prove your expenses and show a nice system for keeping everything together.”

Tip #3 -- Adopt A Paperless System For Present And Future Tax Seasons

best financial apps when is tax return due date where is my return how to file avoid mistakes prepare tips tricks apps organize NeatConnect is an electronic financial scanning and tracking system to help you keep up with your tax write-offs paperlessly. NeatConnect

“The best thing you can do to stay organized is go paperless,” says Franks. “Any tax preparer that is staying current (and they all should) is either partially or fully paperless, so you should be too. Utilizing tools like NeatConnect can help you scan in important documents as soon as you receive them, and help you reduce clutter while still preserving what is important.  Then at tax time, it is as easy as emailing everything scanned in that year to your tax preparer, and you're 90% of the way done! This also saves you money that you would be paying your tax preparer to dig through the dreaded ‘shoebox’ of tax documents.”

Tip #5 – Get Started On 2015 Tax Prep As Soon As This Year’s Return Is Filed

Though some the tips provided above may not help you a whole lot when filing your 2014 Tax Return by the April 15 due date, they can help you get a jumpstart on next year's taxes so that you can avoid the crazy tax hangover that comes with not being prepared. For more information on tools for organizing and tracking expenses and other important tax information, see the below video, orvisit the Neat Connect scanner and cloud service provider website and the Neatology online community.

 

Have a favorite Tax and Financial organizer tool you use? Share it with us in the comments below.