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In the News: It’s Never too Early to Think About Taxes

ReceiptsThe deadline to file your 2013 taxes – or file for an extension – passed earlier this week. What’s the significance of that? It’s time to think about planning for the 2014 filing season.

As many CPAs will tell you – taxes are something to consider year round. And one of the best ways to ensure that you are best positioned to pay no more than you owe is by being meticulously organized throughout the year. Enterpreneur.com recently posted an article suggesting some technology tools that will keep you organized in advance of next tax season – and no, a shoebox to hold all your receipts is not one of them.

One of the suggested apps is called FileThis, whichgrabs all your statements, invoices and receipts from a host of banking, insurance and utilities organizations. The app allows you to store the documents on FileThis Cloud or forward them to other cloud storage providers and, most importantly, you can select a batch of documents and forward them directly to your CPA.

Another potentially useful app for those who do a lot of travel for work is TripIt. By forwarding travel confirmation emails—including flight, hotel, ground transportation and even Open Table reservations, you will have a complete picture of each trip. “In tax examinations travel expenses are often challenged and without adequate substantiation they’re often disallowed in their entirety. But if you have everything in one spot, you can say to your tax preparer or an auditor, ‘Here’s the whole thing,’” said Greg LaFollette, CPA, vice president of product strategy at CPA2Biz.

The specific apps individuals will find useful depend upon their specific circumstances and preferences. The AICPA does not endorse any of the apps mentioned in the article; however, the possibility of using technology to stay organized in advance of filing your taxes is clear.

In addition to vowing to become more organized, consumers can take additional measures to ensure they are sufficiently prepared for next tax season. An article in TheStreet.com suggests steps individuals can take to cut down on surprises at tax time.

One easy step to take can be made after looking at your return for 2013.For example, the article states that there is a potentially easy fix if you received a large refund or faced a high tax bill in 2013. You can make a change by reaching out to the HR department and adjusting your withholding. In addition, if a major life change is on the horizon in 2014, note that a W4 adjustment can be made at any time.

Another easy - and important – step that you can take at any point is to find a tax preparer you know and like. The article recommends thinking about who you are going to select as your trusted adviser well in advance of the filing deadline. In addition to not having to rush to file your return, you’ll have the opportunity to receive proactive advice that may actually lower your tax bill for the next year.

Have any other tips on how to be proactive about your taxes? Share them in the comments.

, Media Relations Manager, American Institute of CPAs.

Receipts image via Shutterstock

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