The holidays are over and the new year has begun. For many around the country, this means the beginning of a long and arduous fight with the winter elements. But for all Americans, this season represents an even scarier proposition: the need to complete taxes. But while tax season is certainly not the “best time of the year” like the holiday season that precedes it, there are ways to make it so manageable that it feels like a gentle spring breeze.

Individual tax returns are due on April 15, 2020, But Americans should be sure to start thinking about their taxes far before that dreaded date. It is getting an early start on adequate preparation that makes tax season easy.

The first thing to consider in preparation for filing returns is proper organization. Nobody likes the stress incurred by rifling around for missing or misplaced documents. By dedicating a file to tax-related papers, Americans can avoid a last-minute dash for vital information.

It is also important to have receipts for all out-of-pocket medical expenses. Receipts allow an individual to deduct their mileage from traveling to appointments. The ideal situation is to save the receipts as they are received, but it is also possible to call offices to ask for them after the fact.

Business owners must prepare for tax season. They must send a 1099 MISC form to anyone who they paid more than six hundred dollars during the year. All employees are required to receive a W-2. Printed forms should be scanned to a computer for accounting reasons. That way, in the case of a future audit, business owners need not worry about the fading of printed words.

Business owners should also be sure that their accounts are all settled. Account settling verifies that credit card statements and bank accounts are accurate. It is often a good idea to contact a CPA for help in this matter.

Tax season is never going to be fun, but it does not have to be a nightmare, either. By taking these steps to properly prepare, filing tax returns can be a simple process that happens quickly and remains refreshingly headache-free.