It’s not only the beginning of the winter-to-spring sport crossover season, but it’s also tax season. Let’s try to shoehorn in something else important during a super busy time of the year, right?
The deadline to get your taxes in is a postmark date of Monday, April 15. In some special cases, you can file an extension. Life does happen. But I recommend to get yours filed as soon as you can so it’s over with and maybe you will get a return faster (if eligible.)
There are a few different routes you can take on tax preparation. Let’s walk through them.
First, you can do them yourself. Bravo to you if this is the way you go.
Another free option is to check out a local university’s school of business or their accountancy program. Just like in sports, those future accounting professionals need practice too.
As an undergrad, I went to my school’s accounting program to have my taxes prepared and I sent them off. Mine at that time were super simple. I only had on-campus jobs and I lived in that state. Often there are thresholds you need to be under to set up an appointment, but it was the best use of a free Saturday morning to have a big item checked off my list. It’s worth looking into.
Now, we get into the paid options.
When I went to grad school, I started having to file in multiple states. As an athletics communications graduate assistant for a school in Washington, D.C., I jumped at working events of all levels for staffs in Northern Virginia and Maryland. At the time I was only thinking of getting experience, networking and the paycheck.
Then it came time to file my taxes. It was super daunting to receive so many W-2 (D.C., Virginia, Maryland and Missouri) and I knew myself well enough to pay an expert to prepare my taxes for me. I didn’t (and still don’t) want to even entertain the idea of completing this task myself. I now choose to use a local family business of accountants to put mine in order.
There are national companies like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, TurboTax and the like as an option as well. Here is a great article from NerdWallet comparing various tax preparation companies.
I am not an expert in the tax preparation field. Please choose the best route for you and your finances. When you meet with your prep person, don’t be afraid to ask them questions. Maybe you have something coming down the line for 2019 and you want to be ready for it this time next year. Ask about what you can do to get ahead on a payment plan.
Keep an eye on your snail mail. Start collecting those W-2’s, health insurance and student loan forms, as well as anything that is specific to your finances.
I hope this helps ease the stress of this season.