Tax Day is one of those days you probably find yourself thinking about for weeks on end. It’s kind of like a reverse Christmas: You know it’s coming because those of us in the media have been hyping it in the press for months. You mark it on your calendar and you take steps to get ready. And when the day finally arrives, it’s a really big deal. But then, as fast as it comes, it’s gone—so you put everything away and forget about it until the next year rolls around.

Only that’s not exactly what you should be doing. In fact, the weeks right after tax season are a great time to reflect upon what went right- and what didn’t- with respect to your taxes and financial matters.

To help you learn from your mistakes—or keep up your healthy habits—following are the 10 best tips to learn from this past tax season and get ready for the next one:

1. Get organized. Keep your tax returns from the previous years, don’t just toss them in a box and forget about them. File them where you’ll be able to find them quickly. Better yet, scan and save your return to a CD or to your hard drive (and be sure to back it up).

2. Don’t forget your follow through. If you filed a tax extension, don’t forget you still have work to do. Make sure you meet any remaining deadlines.

3. Make estimated payments. If you owed money with your last tax return, consider making estimated payments this year to avoid the same result next year. You can use form 1040-ES to figure and make your payments.

4. Adjust your withholding. Getting a refund is always fun. But if your refund is very large and it wasn’t due to a one-time, unexpected tax benefit you should consider changing your withholding status so you keep more of your own money during the tax year.

5. Invest in some software. Organizing your financial information come tax time generally takes much longer than actually preparing the return. Keep things simple by using a personal finance software package. If you enter your transactions as you go you’ll be ready come tax time.

6. Interview a tax professional. It can be difficult to find a good tax professional during the tax season when both of you are facing a time crunch. When most of the rush is over, it will be a good time to call or meet with a few candidates to see who might be the best fit to work with next year.

7. Meet with your financial advisor. This is also a good time to arrange a good sit-down with your financial advisor and figure out what you might do differently next year. Did you fail to take advantage of potential capitol losses? Could you have benefited from contributing to a retirement account? Would it make sense to invest in some tax-exempt bonds? These are the kinds of questions to ask now so that you can plan ahead for next year.

8. Think about the impact of major life decisions on your taxes. Are you expecting? Divorcing? Buying a new house? Retiring? Major life decisions could potentially impact your federal income tax picture. If you’re planning to make a bug change, ask your tax professional for advice.

9. Resolve to keep better records. In order to stay organized, consider a new record-keeping strategy. You might want to try a different household filing system or buy a hand-held scanner to keep receipts and other records at your fingertips.

10. Don’t get discouraged. So maybe tax season wasn’t a breeze this year, Maybe you owed more than you planned or you struggled to find your records. Keep in mind that was last year. Tell yourself that you’ll do better this year—and then do it.

At MBS Accountancy, we will take care of your financial needs. This is an outline of being on the right track and preparing yourself for next tax season. Let us make this process easier for you. Schedule an appointment today!

Originally posted and shared from:, by Kelly Phillips Erb, April 28, 2011 10:00 AM