1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!! Not just at the end of the year but throughout the entire year. Track all your miles, business expenses, charitable contribution on an ongoing basis. It’s so much easier to know what you did, who you gave to or where you went while it is fresh in your mind. Also don’t be afraid to use electronic tools and apps to keep this information for you.
  2. Make your appointment early so that when you get tax planning advice from your tax preparer, you can make the changes early enough to take effect for the most part of the year, which in turn will make the following year even brighter.
  3. Be consistent in your tax preparer. This is a relationship, if nurtured correctly, which should last a while. When you change preparers often, you add an additional challenge and stress to yourself understanding a new process and flow. If handled properly, your preparer should be in touch with you a few times throughout the year and/or available to you when you have questions that could impact your tax preparation in the near future. It’s best to manage changes as they come up not 7 months after is has occurred. So having a relationship with your prepare saves you stress and pain and possibly additional taxes by being consistent.
  4. Do not compare your tax situation to anyone else… two people who work together, live together and have similar lives by personal choices can have TOTALLY different tax situations. So do yourself a favor and find out what works best for YOU and not someone who seems like you.