When taxes are involved, why do you procrastinate?
I do not like doing my income taxes, 1040 what?!…solution: delegate, pay someone else to pull together the information needed for your return and pay someone to prepare your return
I do not like preparing the information to give to someone to do my taxes!…solution: delegate, pay someone to get your financial papers/information organized…paper, digital, all of it
I do not have enough money to pay someone to help me prepare for taxes!…solution: ask your spouse or someone trusted to do it for you or come up with a plan to stop procrastinating, see ideas below
I do not like to plan!…solution: if you do not want to do your own taxes or prepare for them or pay pay someone else or plan or take responsibility then it is time to realize you are an adult and this is something you have to do. Consider filing an extension which gives you 6 extra months, extending the deadline to Oct 15th. Please note, you still have to pay by April 15th
I do not have enough time to do any of this! Then buy someone else’s time especially if you have trouble concentrating. Hire someone with the appropriate skill set to help. If you do not have enough money, try trading services. We all have to set priorities with our time. If you health or some exception keeps you from this, you might want to call the IRS to discuss options.
I do not have enough money to pay my taxes!…file your return on time without payment. If you are not going to pay for a long time (over a month or so), call the IRS to discuss. You will still be charged penalties but your call will be noted in their files.
There are many tasks we do not like to do but have to, taxes are no different. Pick what works for you:
Delegate – this is my absolute, number one suggestion. Hire someone (similar to me) to come to your home and get these tasks done for you. I suggest hiring someone with (even limited) tax knowledge. Expect to pay by the hour, $40 to $90/hour. More than $100/hour means they should be preparing your return.
(for the DIY crowd) Develop a task/checklist – Turbotax offers a good checklist as a starting point for the average taxpayer. Generally, your taxes are fairly consistent from year to year (until you have life events: birth of child, marriage, death, divorce) so you know what your tax accountant will want. Make a list, as you received the information, stack it together, then organize the stack a more or so before tax day and give to your tax accountant.
Set appointments with yourself – put appointments on your calendar (by yourself) to work on your taxes. If you continually miss them, you might need to delegate. Realize, tax preparation is not in your thinking style and your efforts could be used in a more meaningful manner.
Set appointments with paid professionals – force yourself into a deadline by creating accountability. Your tax accountant will expect you to bring the needed information.
Understand your taxes – your taxes are not as hard as they seem. There are many tax rules but most of them do not apply the average individual. Have you taxes prepared by a professional and understand what they did. With that understanding, narrow down the information and paperwork you need to maintain. You might be doing something (like keeping every receipt) because someone told you to when in reality, your tax accountant only uses a small part of the information you provide.
Force yourself – get paperwork and information organized now, not later…commit to this goal, if you stray, set-up consequences for yourself…”if I miss my goal, I will hire someone to do it for me”. Understand why you procrastinate so you can change accordingly.
Change your perspective – being scared or angry about your taxes is not getting you anywhere, equivalent to beating your head against a wall even when you know it hurts. Accept the task and be angry about something else.
I will say one more time – if you continue to procrastinate and do not like it then hire someone to help you. The tax deadline is not going to change but you can.