What Are Some Tips for Better Management in the Workplace?

What Are Some Tips for Better Management in the Workplace?

You’ve worked with the finest recruiters in Orange County and hired the best accounting staff available. Now for the trickier task of managing your staff. Research shows that employees are more productive when they are happy in their work, so it is in your best interest to create a harmonious workplace.

  1. Reward Achievement

Human beings are social creatures who hunger for recognition for their accomplishments from those in authority. A paycheck alone is not sufficient to feed that hunger, and if you don’t meet that need, your employees will seek the appreciation that they crave elsewhere. To be clear, you don’t have to reward your employees monetarily to feed that hunger. A simple word or two of praise and appreciation for the effort that they are putting into their work is sufficient and costs you nothing.

  1. Build Teams With Fun Activities

You want your employees to be efficient and productive, but even occasional leisure activities can effectively increase productivity. Having fun with co-workers will help engender a sense of belonging among employees. If you invite employees’ loved ones along a couple of times a year, it will promote a nurturing family atmosphere.

  1. Foster Mentorships

Having more-established members of your team working with and guiding newer members is a management technique that pays positive dividends for all involved. The newer employees benefit from the education and training they receive, the mentors learn and develop leadership skills, and mentoring reduces turnover rates, which is good for the company as a whole.

  1. Create a Safe Work Environment

To be blunt, employees won’t feel happy or satisfied if they feel threatened at work. Unfortunately, hostile workplace environments are still all too common. Set clear rules stating that discrimination or harassment will not be tolerated in your office, distribute those rules to all employees in written form, and make sure that the rules are enforced.

The first step to a cheerfully productive office is working with top accounting recruiting firms to find the best people to add to your team. That’s where Beacon Resources can help you. Call them today, or contact them via their website.

Choosing between free and paid live streaming services

Choosing between free and paid live streaming services

Source

Advertisement is one effective way to promote your brands, products, or content and it has been widely used by marketers. These days, advertisements appear on television, on our mobile devices, and others. Sometimes, we are attracted by some advertisements on products we might be interested in but most times, we do get irritated with too many advertisements. In fact, there is no end of advertisements especially when we are using free apps, or when we are playing some free games on our mobile devices.

One example of endless pop-up of advertisements is when we are using free video live streaming services. Once we have downloaded a free video streaming app onto our mobile devices, we will have to bear with the countless advertisements that keep popping up. No one wants to be interrupted by advertisements when watching a good video. In fact, it can be very irritating to viewers.

There are many free live streaming apps available these days and beginners can take advantage of the free live broadcast apps to advertise their brand, products, or promotional events to draw in more audience and customers. Since it is a free service, be prepared for the many pop-up advertisements which might irritate your viewers, but it is a good start for those with tight budget.

Paid or professional streaming services often offers competitive options at reasonable charge, and some even offer free trials for first-time users. These paid services are more suitable for marketers who are serious in building a larger circle of viewers and focused in boosting up their sales for their business. Time is precious and paid services will not burden your viewers with unwanted advertisements. Some services do not permit any kind of advertisement and they even allow viewers to customize your broadcast according to their preferences with control buttons.

Most broadcasters using paid broadcasting services can in turn charge their viewers to watch their live streams by choosing a suitable payment plan. Video live streaming services enable broadcasters to access a wider viewer base.

How To Prepare When Applying For An LLC

How To Prepare When Applying For An LLC

When creating your new enterprise, you may decide that forming an LLC is the best way to go. Limited liability companies are an excellent way to make sure that your business operates smoothly while also limiting how much liability you and other founders have regarding things like debt. However, what’s the procedure for getting started? At Gov Doc Filing, we will go over the steps required so that you can get up and running in no time.

Create an LLC Name

LLCs are not regulated by the federal government, which means that you have to register your business with the state. Each state has different requirements, so it’s imperative that you know what you have to do before you file.

One of the first things to do, however, is to register your LLC name. It can’t be identical to any other business in operation, so you may have to pick one that isn’t your first choice.

File Articles of Organization

Another requirement that states have is that you have to submit documentation about who is going to be involved in the LLC (members) and what their responsibilities are going to be. Without these articles of organization, you won’t be able to operate legally. Check your state’s regulations on what’s required for them.

Get a Tax ID

When looking at LLC tax forms, one of the most critical is getting an employer ID number (EIN). This number will allow you to hire employees and open a business bank account, and most states require an EIN for LLCs, even if they have just one member. You can file for a Tax ID online and get it within hours.

Obtain Licenses and Permits

Once you have your EIN, then you can start to get all of your necessary business licenses. Again, these vary by state, so check to be sure that you’re getting all of the paperwork required before opening to the public.

Overall, forming an LLC is an excellent way to get your business off the ground, but be sure that you know all of the requirements of your state before you begin.

How to Make Sure Your Custom Business Checks Are Fit for Purpose

How to Make Sure Your Custom Business Checks Are Fit for Purpose

Business checks must be designed properly as they make a statement about the organization that they belong to. This is why it is important to not just have custom business checks, but to make sure they have been properly designed, including a name and logo, at the same time. There are numerous printing services out there that can create office stationery, and they can often also create business checks. However, with business checks, the design may be hugely important, compatibility with the various banks is even more so. Because these checks are not the ones that have been issued by your bank, but must still be associated with your bank account, it is vital that the relevant banking information is included and in the right way.

How to Design Custom Business Checks

When you come to design a business check, you have to start by having an account. Without a bank account, it will be impossible for a printing service to create accurate checks. Once you have your account in order, you can provide the printer with all the information that they need. This usually includes:

  • The name and address of your business.
  • The name and address of the bank.
  • The account number.
  • The routing number.
  • The relevant fractional numbers.

It is also likely that you will want to have properly numbered checks, which your printer should also be aware of. You can sometimes come to an agreement that, if a certain number is reached, a new order for checks is automatically placed, for instance.

Once all this basic information has been supplied, it will become possible to also customize the information. A printer is likely to be able to provide you with a number of standardized design templates that you can then further customize to meet your particular needs. For instance, you can add patterned or solid backgrounds, your logo, company colors, and even a specific type of fun. Do make sure, of course, that the image and the printing technology is of the highest possible quality. A good printer will send you a proof of the design so that you can confirm whether or not it looks the way you want it to look before you place a large order. Also have this proof checked over by your bank to confirm it can be used.

If you are happy with the design, then you may want to consider the same printer for various other elements of your business as well. For instance, you may have official letterhead, envelopes, notepads, business cards, and more. Printers who can create customized checks are usually also able to do other types of work. In fact, some may even be able to offer you a range of promotional materials such as pens, mousepads, desk tidies, and other such items, which are great giveaways and keepsakes. At the end of the day, once you have found a good printer, you may as well trust them with all your printing needs rather than just one.

Mack Prioleau on Considerations Businesses Make when Choosing a Financial Analyst

Mack Prioleau on Considerations Businesses Make when Choosing a Financial Analyst

The role of the financial analyst is incredibly important and these professionals must take their responsibility seriously. Financial analysts like Mack Prioleau I have identified a number of Key things businesses tend to look for in there analysts. He feels that it is important that businesses look for these qualities because of the high levels of responsibility does an analyst holds. It is particularly important that businesses investigate the potential skills and credentials of the analysts if they are not a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst).  Having CFA designation almost instantly proves skill.

Mack Prioleau Advises Businesses on Key Strengths of a Financial Analyst

A good financial analyst should have extensive planning credentials. The CFA designation previously mentioned is a good one but so is the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and the PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) Having any kind of credentials means that the individual is committed to being the best it can be.

Financial analysts should also be experts in their subject matter. Often, they choose a specific area of finance to focus on and obtain credentials in those areas. For instance, they could be focused on accounting, taxes, budgeting, investments, and so on. It is important to understand that anyone who sells securities or focuses on investments and anyone who files reports with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) must be certified.

Furthermore, a good financial analyst should be able to specialize in certain types of clients. It is quite common that the best ones pick a very specific profile. For instance, they may focus on a certain stage of life, those who hold certain professions, those who have a certain amount of net worth, and so on. While some people think that taking on this type of specialization is limiting, the reality is that it proves that they are highly knowledgeable in relevant areas.

If a financial analyst is brought in for a certain project rather than a permanent member of staff, the business should also look for a transparent fee structure. Some financial analysts charge fees for their advice, offering a flat fee either for the project or per hour. Others will also add other financial incentives such as referral fees and commissions. Generally speaking, financial analysts who only charge a flat fee to be the most unbiased because it means that they cannot earn more by working in a different manner.

Finally, the financial analyst should be available. It is quite common for organizations to require the skills of these types of professionals quite immediately, so there is no point finding the best analyst around if they are incapable of coming into the business straight away. On the other hand, availability should not override quality of work. At the end of the day, finances are the bread and butter of any business and it is not possible to cut corners in this. Thankfully, many good financial analysts also have high availability and can come into a business as and when required.

How to Achieve Your Business Dreams of Starting a Privacy Protection Company

How to Achieve Your Business Dreams of Starting a Privacy Protection Company

Do you have dreams of starting your own business to ensure the privacy of others? Click here for a handy guide on how to make your business dreams a reality.

Thousands of entrepreneurs start their companies with big business dreams. They dream that they’ll have the freedom to do the work they love and make a lot of money to do it.

Unfortunately, about 20% of those dreams come crashing down in the first year. The reasons usually come down to lack of cash flow and business owner burnout.

You can avoid that as long as you start your business off right. You need to plan ahead and lay the foundation so your privacy protection business will grow.

Would you like to know what it takes to start a privacy protection business built to last?

Keep reading to learn the how you can live your dream as a successful business owner.

Brainstorm, Visualize, and Plan

When you get that spark of inspiration and decide to run with it, you need to make sure that your idea is profitable.

The first thing you’ll need to do is map out your privacy protection business. Mind mapping is a great way to do that. Mind mapping is a way to organize your thoughts and get all of the ideas in your head on paper.

Write down the different services you want to provide, and how your business will be better than the competition.

When you think you’ve gotten all of your ideas down on paper, take a few moments to visualize your business 3-5 years down the road.

What are the core services that you’re providing? How is your day being spent? How many employees do you have? What kind of clients do you work with?

These questions tap into your business dreams and help you plan out where you want to take your business.

Write a Business Plan

In order to make sure that your business is profitable, you need to take your mind map and create a business plan out of it.

Your business plan is a formal mind map that fills in the gap between where your business is now and where you want it to be. These are the most important parts of the business plan are as follows.

Target Market

You’ll need to get clear as to who you want to target. The reason why this part is so critical is that this is the basis of all of your marketing efforts.

The marketing for your privacy protection business should speak directly to that audience. Take a look at Spy Catchers, which outlines what they do and who they help right away on their website. The content is relatable to that audience.

Do you want to work with celebrities? Government agencies? Homeowners?

You’ll also want to research what the market size is. If you start a business and the target market you chose doesn’t buy your service, you don’t have much of a business.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a risk assessment tool that helps you analyze your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Strengths: An internal view of what your business does well. For example, you might have years of experience in the privacy industry.

Weaknesses: These are things that you need to improve. Poor customer service or a lack of systems and processes are two good examples.

Opportunities: This examines the external opportunities for your business, such as an increased need for your services or a booming economy.

Threats: Just like a booming economy is an opportunity, a bad economy is a threat. A threat is anything external that can have a negative impact on your business. An increase in competition and a change in government regulations regarding privacy companies could be potential threats, too.

With a detailed SWOT analysis, you’re aware of the situations that your business faces, and you’ll be able to plan for the challenges ahead.

Financial Projections

Creating financial projections is a tedious job, but necessary if you want to start a business the right way.

The first thing you’ll want to create is a spreadsheet with all of your projected start-up expenses.

That includes equipment, office space, and marketing costs.

Other financial projections that you’ll need are sales projections for the first five years of your business, and profit and loss statements.

Put Your Team Together

If you think that you have a winning business after writing your business plan, you’ll need to put your team together. You need people with levels of expertise in certain areas to handle some of the workload.

Delegating these tasks are very important because they can have serious consequences for your business if not handled properly. Plus, you’re lessening the chance for burnout by outsourcing tasks to someone else.

The first person you want to work with is a business lawyer. A good attorney will help you set up the right business structure, and help you create contracts for your clients.

Unless you want to do your own taxes, you’ll want to talk to an accountant. An accountant will help you set up your books, tell you how much you need to set aside or pay in estimated taxes.

They’ll also advise you on what you can write off on your taxes and what you can’t.

You’ll also need a good marketing team. You may opt to do this yourself in the beginning to save money. The challenge is that you’re not a marketing expert.

You’re a privacy expert. You’ll have to learn the latest marketing trends and take the time to do all of the marketing yourself.

It’s worth it to bring in a marketing expert, even hire an intern if funds are very tight.

When you have the right team of people around to you provide guidance, you’re able to make clear and calculated decisions.

Make Your Business Dreams Come True

The decision to start a business can come from a moment of inspiration or from an idea that you had a long time ago.

You might have business dreams and visions of success and freedom in your head. The reality is that the decision to start a company kicks off months and years of hard, rewarding work.

It’s a true labor of love for business owners. In the privacy protection business, you can help people and make a great living doing it.

A successful business starts with a solid foundation. Once you lay the groundwork, you can scale your business up.

For more great tips about starting and running a business, check out our blog.

How to Bring Down Costs In The Office

How to Bring Down Costs In The Office

As any business owner knows, finances in the company are about more than just bringing in more money, it is also about learning how and where money can be saved. Within the office there are many opportunities to save money, the key is being smart and a little bit creative. The office or headquarters is obviously essential in any business so stripping pieces away or changes aspects of it must be done with care, to ensure that the office still operates at the levels that it should.

If you are looking to save some money on office spending, here are some tips to help you out.

Outsourcing

Not every task that is completed inside the office necessarily needs to be managed in-house and through outsourcing you can really cut back on both costs and time. There are many aspects o office life which can be outsourced, IT for example is a burden which you do not have to bear and through outsourcing the management of your computers and software, you can ensure that issues are dealt with quickly and inexpensively. You can also reduce costs with managed print services that will look after every aspect of your printing needs, remotely. This means that when you need new toner or ink, it will be automatically shipped out, an engineer will be out before you even knew the printer had issues and through this service you can be sure that the printing within the office is not something you need to worry about.

Working From Home

We are living in a world whereby the necessity to actual work from the office is far lower than it has ever been. Through smart software, internet use and easier communication, your staff could very well work from home at least 1 day per week. In doing this you can save a great amount of money on electricity, water and gas, money which will really add up over time. The additional benefit of this will be the happiness of your staff and a happy workforce is a productive one.

Digitalize

We are no longer as dependent on paper than we used to be and in digitalizing your office, you can save a great amount of money on paper and supplies. The job is quite time consuming but once all of the office activities are put onto computer rather than paper, you can be sure that the activities in the office will be more streamlined, and the cost of supplies will drop significantly. Another benefit of this is storage space, how many rooms are required to keep all of your documents? Get rid of the paper trail and utilize computers in order to free up that space, speed up the business and cut down on costs.

There are many other ways in which you can also save money in the office, from encouraging staff to be energy conscious to cutting down on company expenses. Get creative and get saving!

4 Ways Social Media Can Help Your Business

4 Ways Social Media Can Help Your Business

Source

Social media platforms are big business, and when you have people like President Trump with many millions of followers on Twitter, it is not likely that its use will diminish in the foreseeable future. Facebook has passed 2 billion active users, and LinkedIn has over 380,000 professional users. That is without all the other social media platforms such as Instagram, WeChat, YouTube and Pinterest.

Businesses cannot afford to ignore social media any longer, but it needs to be handled carefully for them to feel the benefit.

Getting Your Brand Known

Social media is a great way to get your brand name known. As long as you do not bombard people with lots of written content about your products, they will see your name again and again. Images and videos are better because users are more likely to stop and look at them rather than just scroll past. Also, you should interact with people. That is how you will build up a following, and then every time you like a post or comment on one, your brand name will show.

Turning Views into Conversions

The way the human mind works, generally if they want to buy something it will be from a friend rather than a stranger. You may be a Facebook friend, but that doesn’t matter. If you sell a product they want, a friend is a friend and they are more likely to buy from you than a competitor. It is good to have a ‘View Site” button on your social media page, so that they very easily can move to your website to see the whole range of products you sell. This can be particularly useful is there is news you want to tell on your blog, either about the industry you are in or perhaps some new laws that will affect your products.

Creating a Good Customer Service

No business wants to have to man a customer service desk that is open 24 hours a day, but with social media that is exactly what you have. People can write good comments, complain or ask queries any time of day or night. Replying with positive answers is the key because then you will build trust with the viewers following the thread.

Even if someone is not saying good things about your product, there is always some way of you reacting in a positive manner. In fact, a positive reply to a bad post can do wonders for your credibility.

Analytics

If you advertise on TV, radio or in print, you have no real way of knowing how many people have seen it. With social media, there are analytical tools that can record for you who has seen what, the times of day your posts were viewed and lots of other information that can help you to target the right audience.

These are just 4 of the many ways that social media can help your business. Having an online presence is vital for all businesses to succeed, and social media platforms are a brilliant way of achieving that goal.

4 Methods to Make Your Business Website Stand Out

4 Methods to Make Your Business Website Stand Out

Some people call it the “it factor”: the idea that the most compelling people, places, and things have an ineffable charm and an intrinsic quality that simply can’t be recreated. Unfortunately, there’s no way to measure, collate, analyze, or reproduce “it” –– whatever “it” is. However, in the world of business, professionals need to deal with tangibles; they have no use for fanciful musings or unsupported theories. Instead, when designing a professional website, business owners should have a well-developed plan on how they’re going to separate themselves from the competition. To that end, here are four concrete ways to make your company’s website stand out from the pack:

Make Everything Easy

This shouldn’t come as a revelation: customers love convenience. So when you’re creating your website you should work to ensure that everything about it is intuitive and easy to understand. You don’t want your leads struggling to find products or services buried deep within your website. Furthermore, streamline your online store to promote easy use and mitigate against consumers exiting your site at the last possible second.

Avoid Gimmicks

Websites that utilize gimmicks and give into fads just look tacky and unprofessional. Remember that it’s okay show some personality and be lighthearted, but at the end of the day your website should focus on serving your customers. If you’re sacrificing functionality for something inessential, then rethink your priorities.

Optimize Products and Services

Companies that don’t bother writing appropriate headlines and meta descriptions for their website are always going to struggle to make progress in a crowded marketplace. Rather than sticking with the generic back-end settings, give proper weight to keywords and phrases that actually explain what you do –– and label your pages accordingly. Chances are people on search engines will go looking for specific products and services, instead of your company’s moniker. Note that whatever it is your company specializes in –– from vintage guitars to doctor loans –– your emphasis should first and foremost be on the product or service you provide. 

Answer Tough Questions

Consumers value a website that provides valuable insight. Plain and simple, if you’re able to deliver cogent content consistently, you’ll likely attract qualified leads to your site. Pertinent and timely blogs, smart videos, and the occasional guest post will go a long way toward helping differentiate your site from the competition. Don’t flatter to deceive on your site; rather, get down to brass tacks and give your visitors the information they’re looking for. Odds are, you’ll see the rewards of that effort sooner rather than later.

15 Tips for Winning at Doing Your Own Taxes

15 Tips for Winning at Doing Your Own Taxes

Doing your own taxes can seem overwhelming but it’s a good opportunity to maximise your refund. Here are some top tips for preparing your tax return like a pro.

Did you know that 65% of American taxpayers receive a federal refund?

A federal refund can mean a fat check in the mail once you file your taxes, especially if you file them correctly.

For many taxpayers, refunds can take care of lingering bills or lead to a much-deserved vacation.

A lot of people dread doing their taxes, but preparing your tax return in a smart way can actually mean a larger federal refund than you’ve been expecting.

In this post, we’ll look closely at tips you can keep in mind when doing your own taxes. These strategies can be your secret to making the most of your next tax return!

1. Avoid Paper Tax Returns

A lot of people choose to file their taxes manually.

Paper tax returns can often mean saving money on tax software. But it can also mean more headaches for you, especially if you find tax language to be daunting.

What’s more, it can be incredibly easy to make a mistake on a paper tax return. In fact, paper returns have as much as a 20% error rate in comparison to electronically filed returns!

Errors in your tax return can mean that they are ultimately rejected by the IRS. Errors can also mean a lower total refund and higher taxes paid.

The best way to do taxes yourself often involves e-filing. A lot of companies like TurboTax make filing your taxes yourself easy and affordable. Check out https://www.ultimatetax.com/ to learn more about tax preparation software.

E-filing also means that you will always have electronic copies of your tax returns for consecutive years. This can be helpful if your filing requires numbers from prior tax returns.

2. Gather All Documents Before Filing

Doing your own taxes often means weeding through thick stacks of paper. Before you start puzzling through those documents for filing purposes, get the right ones in order.

The most important documents you need for doing taxes yourself are ones that indicate the past year’s income.

These include W-2s, 1099s, evidence of cash transactions, investment income information, state tax refunds, and any other income you may have received through unemployment, rental properties, or business operations.

Most employers and contractors will send out your tax documents by February so that you can have them in order for filing season.

3. Decide Whether to Itemize Or Not

A standard deduction is what the IRS offers to individuals or families who won’t benefit from itemizing — i.e., writing out–other deductions.

The best way to file taxes may be to simply claim the standard deduction. However, when doing your own taxes, make sure you can totally rule out itemizing before you claim the standard.

How do you know if you need to itemize or not? Itemizing basically means gathering up all of your receipts from the previous year that could earn you a deduction.

These include non-reimbursed business or work expenses, job search expenses, charitable contributions, and even medical bills.

Itemizing does require having a solid grasp of the prior year’s deductible expenses. For this reason, we recommend itemizing if you have proof of these deductions (i.e., paper or digital receipts) and if itemizing can grant you a higher return than a standard deduction.

4. Stay Organized for Next Year

It’s possible to file your own taxes like a boss if you prioritize organization. Having your receipts, proof of income and other essential documents in order can make your life so much easier once tax season rolls around.

If you’ve already filed your taxes for this year, get a headstart on next year’s filing by establishing an organization system.

This may mean investing in finance tracking software, for example, to keep a digital record of your expenses and income.

It may mean creating digital or literal files for storing receipts and tax documents. Whatever the case, make sure you have an easy and effective system in place for keeping all of your documents together for next year’s tax return.

5. Seek Assistance

Doing taxes yourself can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to it. It is possible to seek out assistance when filing your own taxes so that you can maximize your refunds.

A lot of people resort to a personal accountant when it comes to filing taxes themselves. This may be especially smart if you are a business owner. Many accountants do not charge an egregious amount for their filing services.

Others may be able to qualify for free tax filing assistance if finances are an issue. In fact, a hefty portion of standard taxpayers may qualify for free filing assistance.

Visit the IRS’s website to learn more about assistance and filing counseling for low-income or elderly taxpayers.

6. Educate Yourself

Doing your own taxes doesn’t have to feel like signing up for a foreign language class. The best way to maximize your refunds this tax season is to educate yourself.

This may mean a lot of things to different taxpayers. If you are a self-employed individual, for example, your tax filing will likely be a lot different from an employed individual.

The same goes for business owners, those receiving social security, homeowners, and families.

It’s possible to learn about how the tax system works in the U.S. simply by researching online. You can also learn about deductions you may qualify for via the IRS’s website itself.

A lot of e-filing companies such as TurboTax enable users to consult certified accountants while filing taxes. Others have community forums that often answer a lot of taxpayer questions.

7. Understand What “Dependent” Means

If you are doing your own taxes, you may be tempted to instantly gloss over the component that asks about dependents. This is particularly the case if you are a single individual without children.

However, if you do support a friend or family member for various reasons, you could qualify for a tax deduction.

Let’s say that you have enabled a friend to live with you for a year to help her get back on her feet. Or perhaps you’re caring for your aunt who is navigating a difficult illness.

These situations may enable you to deduct a little over $4,000 when filing your taxes.

8. Explore Above-Line Deductions

Above-the-line deductions are adjustments to your income that enable you to pay fewer taxes for the prior year.

The good news about these deductions is the fact that you don’t have to worry about itemizing in order to claim them. Some examples of above-line deductions include expenses for moving or paid self-employment tax.

These deductions are called “above-the-line” because they physically reside above the line on your tax forms where you have to report your gross income.

9. File On Time

One of the biggest secrets to filing your taxes yourself is knowing the filing deadline. Filing deadlines are typically in mid-April in the U.S.

What’s more, make sure you do file your taxes on time. Missing this deadline can mean paying interest on your tax balance. You may even be liable for certain fees if you don’t file for a legal extension and miss the deadline.

10. Seek Out Refundable Tax Credits

Refundable tax credits are exactly what they sound like: a matched reduction in the taxes you owe to the IRS.

An example of a refundable tax credit is the earned income tax credit, one that benefits working individuals with low to middle income. Refundable credits essentially give taxpayers a refund, as they are credits that surpass an individual’s total tax liability.

Other refundable tax credits include the American Opportunity Credit, Premium Assistance Tax Credit, and Additional Child Tax Credit.

11. Consider an IRA

If you set aside money for retirement in the previous tax year, you may be eligible for a deduction.

What’s more, if you contribute significantly to an IRA this coming year, you could claim up to $6500 in deductions, depending on your age. If you are already looking ahead to next tax season, consider contributing to an IRA now for tax and retirement benefits.

12. Deduct Your Home Office

If you are self-employed, you may be eligible for a home office deduction. This is particularly the case if you work from home or rent out an office solely for business purposes.

A home office in this sense is technically a business expense. However, there are some exceptions. Learn more about the home office deduction here before you go about filing your own taxes.

13. Don’t Neglect State Taxes

It’s easy to get caught up in federal tax stipulations alone. But don’t forget about your state obligations when doing your own taxes.

Depending on the state you live in, you may be obligated to a state income tax. Learn more about state taxes here via the IRS’s list of government websites.

Don’t let this aspect of doing your own taxes alarm you. In most cases, taxpayers are eligible for state tax refunds.

14. Keep Your Tax Documents for the Future

Once you start filing your own taxes, it’s important to hold on to every year’s tax documents for future reference. This is important if you choose to re-file taxes for a certain year, in case of an error.

You may also need to refer to past years’ refunds when filing future taxes. Most e-filing companies keep all of your tax return data on file for this reason.

Store income documents electronically as well in case they come in handy down the road.

15. Use Tax Refunds Wisely

Doing your own taxes doesn’t have to be stressful! Often it results in a hefty refund.

When your refunds do arrive, use them wisely. Many people use their refunds for investment purposes, while others set them aside for future tax payments.

We recommend having a plan for your refund before you file, particularly one that fits well within the scope of your financial future.

How to Win At Doing Your Own Taxes

Handling your own taxes this tax season does not have to be difficult. Stay organized, educate yourself, and seek out assistance if need be.

Avoid filing a paper tax return to minimize errors. Explore all applicable deductions and decide whether or not itemizing is right for you. Always file on time to avoid any penalties.

NonSociety is your ultimate resource for navigating all of life’s challenges on your own terms. Learn more about what we do here!