March Madness - Drive for the Goal
by Bob Williams
You got this—all you have to do is start!
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It’s more than just a tired phrase from a coach’s locker-room speech book: Success, whether in life or on the basketball court, requires focus, direction, preparation, ability – and an unstoppable will to succeed.
Just ask the Connecticut Huskies.
They put all those pieces together to build a 60-56 victory Monday night to claim the biggest prize in college basketball – the NCAA Championship.
The Huskies kept a steady game throughout the contest, leading 35-31 at the half, and continuing the pressure to the end.
Kentucky, on the other hand, did well to keep it close, but fell disappointingly short at the foul line, hitting just 13 of 24 – and their last three attempts when they mattered most.
UConn had the game plan, and they worked it to perfection. The Huskies kept their composure and their focus and didn’t let anything take their eyes off the prize.
And it’s no cheesy analogy if we say many of the same qualities apply to us when we seek to successfully e-file our yearly income tax return.
Most people would agree we’re certainly in the fourth quarter of tax season. In this case, the final buzzer sounds at midnight on April 15. And according to our calendar, that’s just a few days away. But unlike basketball, there is no overtime period – especially if you owe Uncle Sam some tax due.
Any coach, whether football, basketball or baseball, will tell you preparation is key to any victory, any time. It’s no different with taxes. Even at this late date, we still need all our tools for success at hand. That means all those printed forms we’ve been hanging onto since January – W-2s, 1099s of whatever kind, and any receipts or other documents that can prove we gave or we got.
Organize. Divvy up that paperwork into income and deductions. And if you don’t have something you think you should, now you may have only two choices: Try to get it, or do without. Missing a W-2 or an EIN? Call the employer to ask if they can send it by e-mail.
Get Your Game On
When you have your paperwork under control, it’s time to get in the game. Sign into your 1040.com account and start down the Road to the File Smile. Start with the Name & Address screen, fill out all the parts, and click Save & Continue.
Answer all the questions in all the sections – even if you don’t think they apply in your case. Here’s why: The answers are used to anticipate what forms you might need in your return. Sure, you can go directly to the form if you know the name, but wouldn’t it be easier to just have it waiting for you?
If you need multiple copies of one form – let’s say you have more than one W-2, for example – simply click Review, and the blue “Add Another Form” link next to the form you’d like to add.
And if you’re curious about what should go in a particular blank or box, on any federal form you can click once in that particular field and see what it involves via the Help box on the web page. This feature can be particularly helpful, since it can tell you when there’s a danger of double-entering your figures. It also tells you if there are limits to credits or deductions.
Think of our Help box as your spotter in the stands, giving you the read on the competition.
Drive for the Goal
One you have your information entered, it’s time to head down the floor to the goal. We give you a fast-break to e-filing. Click Review at top left, then use the Continue button at the bottom of the web page to move through the screens.
If your return has any problems or issues, we tell you up front, so you can get them corrected – before you try to e-file.
While we’re heading to a successful e-file, we can turn a 2-point shot into a 3-pointer by double-checking all the important information on our return before hitting that E-file button. Make sure all the SSNs are correct, that your banking information is right and that your address is correct on the return. Checking your information can help make your e-file a slam-dunk.
And after you’ve sent your return screaming through cyber-space to the IRS, you can sign back into your account to see whether your return’s been accepted by the IRS or your state.
So today belongs to the Huskies of UConn, undisputed champs of college basketball in America. And if you follow our game plan, you could be showing off your refund – instead of that monster trophy.
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