tax-time-helpHaven’t filed your taxes yet? You’re not alone. Avoiding what seems to be a difficult task and looking for distractions affects many of us. But procrastinating only creates unnecessary stress, and doesn’t fix the problem. Here are five things you can do that will make it easier. Create a To-Do Checklist Make a list of all the outstanding forms or documents you still need. Be specific as to which document you need and from whom, such as an employer or bank. Then check the items off the list once you receive them, this way you have a constant reminder of the items you have and the items you still need. Need a little help? Here's a checklist to help you get started. Gather Your Documents Now Stay focused on any outstanding forms you still need from your checklist. If you haven’t received a Form W-2 or 1099-R from an employer or pension by March, you should get with the company and ask them for copies. It can take weeks to get a W-2 reissued by a company; so requesting documentation now is key to being able to file on time. If you tried contacting the employer or company and were unsuccessful in gaining documentation, call the IRS (1-800-829-1040) and let the IRS know about it. By informing the IRS about this, you may be able to still file using a substitute W-2 using Form 4852. As you are gathering your documentation, be sure to store them in one place. You can use whatever you like to store them in such as a file, folder, envelope, or even a shoe box. Make sure you place the documents in a visible location, such as on top of your desk or near a phone, as this will allow your documents to always be in sight. Make Time For Quiet Time Once you have gathered all your taxes, pick a day and time to prepare your taxes. Make sure you pick an area that is quiet and does not have any distractions. That means turning off any TV, radio, or video game. Plan on more time than you think you will need so that you don’t feel rushed. You will be surprised how much work you can get done when preparing this way. Use Tax Software If you are considering doing your own taxes, prepare them using tax software, such as on Using tax software help eliminate a lot of the miscalculating and data entry errors that often occur by doing it by hand. Also, using tax software makes it a lot easier and faster to prepare an accurate return. Hire A Tax Professional Spent too many hours trying to prepare your tax return and still are not done? Not sure if the return is prepared correctly? Maybe taxes is not your thing. Consider getting professional help from a qualified tax professional such as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or EA (Enrolled “Tax” Agent). File your taxes online with Taxbrain! With Taxbrain, you can get all the free technical support you need to prepare your own taxes. Get your free account now, visit Vincent Mangiapane, EA Federal Analyst, Taxbrain