April 15th is right around the corner as we all prepare for our favorite time of the year…  Tax time!  The process of preparing your taxes and getting everything ready can be intimidating, but you should be alright if you adequately prepare and plan ahead.

Here are five tips from Barbara J. Stanton, Controller at The Philadelphia Protestant Home (B.S., Business & Education, Gwynedd Mercy University) on how to avoid being emotionally taxed this tax season.


Prepare all necessary documents

Find a place to store any and all tax receipts and various other documents that you receive for tax season.  Store them all in one location so that they’re easy to find when needed.


Check Your Withholding

Review your documents and tax returns from the previous year.  This may be helpful in helping you know what to expect in 2016.  You can also double-check your withholdings and review your tax returns whether or not you are the one preparing it.


Research Ways to Increase Your Return

Just because some of you may not own a house anymore, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get a tax deduction.  In fact, there are still opportunities especially if you own a car. If at some point you donated clothes, house items, etc. to a charity all of those actions could give you more money back in your tax return!  Wow, being a good citizen does pay off!


Contribute to your Roth or Traditional IRA

If you’ve been on the fence about opening a Traditional or a Roth IRA, now may be the time to do it.  You can open and contribute to one and actually claim said contributions for the previous year’s taxes up until April 15th.  Your window to claim those contributions is open until you file.


Stay informed

If you do not itemize your deductions, you can get a higher standard deduction amount (if you’re over the age of 65).  That deduction increases if either you or your spouse is blind. Websites like TurboTax and Yahoo! Finance are full of useful information, and it may serve you well to read up prior to starting the process.