If you haven’t completed your tax paperwork yet, you may be feeling anything but zen. But there’s no need to stress excessively. Bloomberg Businessweek recently ran an excellent article offering eight tips to help make tax time easier and less stressful. Here’s what the article recommends.

  1. Focus on what’s important. Know what’s deductible and what’s not, and concentrate on the things that you know you’ll need documentation for.
  2. Make wise use of your time. Rather than wasting a lot of time chasing small deductions, just go after the big things. Spending 2 hours trying to find what you need for a $10 deduction doesn’t make sense.
  3. Have a plan. There are several free checklists to help you gather what you’ll need, including those from the IRSefile.com, andFreshBooks.
  4. Don’t invite stress. If you report a business loss year after year or if you report as dependents those who may not actually be your dependents for tax purposes, you could be inviting headaches. 
  5. Make friends with technology. Accounting systems such as QuickBooks and FreshBooks can save you lots of time by helping you keep track of income and expenses efficiently.
  6. Outsource. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Hiring a professional will save you valuable time that you can spend running your business and doing paid work, rather than spending hours trying to figure out taxes.
  7. If you’re running behind, file an extension. It’s better to file an extension than to make mistakes because you’re rushed.
  8. If you owe the IRS, pay up. If you can’t pay in full, request a payment plan.

Tax time is never fun, but it doesn’t have to be terrible. You can save yourself some stress with these helpful ideas.