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5 Tips for a Stress-Free Tax Season

Each year, tax season presents the same set of tasks and deadlines. There are quite a few things to examine, and they all require immense focus. One small mistake could cost you if you're not careful.

  1. Start early. When it comes to taxes, procrastinators pay the price--literally. Those who need to file for a return must do so by April 15th of 2014. The IRS issues fees to those who don't make the deadline. If you think you may need more time, request an extension. Doing so will give you until October 15th to get all the paperwork in.
  2. Have a plan. Those with complex financial situations may benefit from hiring an accountant during tax season. Many others do their own taxes electronically. Pick a plan and stick to it. If you seek out the same accountant to help you with your taxes each year, give him or her a call around this time.
  3. Do a test-run. Depending on your situation, this could be very time-consuming. However, completing this step will help you achieve accuracy. Save the results of your test-run for comparison purposes. They will come in handy when you file your taxes later on.
  4. Double-check the mail. If you are expecting tax documents, they will probably be delivered through the U.S. postal service. Even if an envelope looks like it holds "junk mail," check it just in case. Tax documents sometimes come in envelopes that look strange.
  5. If necessary, consider your payment ability. If you cannot pay your taxes on time, be sure to contact the IRS to discuss payment options. If possible, pay what you can before April 2014. Payment plans on taxes usually begin in May.

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