5 Organizing Tips For Tax Season

Don’t know about you, but usually when I’m offering advice, it’s often and truly so I can remind myself what I should be doing.  I get the question / comment a lot: ‘So you must be really organized’… or ‘your house must be really organized’.  Well, I’ve said it before and will say it again, no one’s perfect and not EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE can stay organized.  But we do our best and keep on keepin’ on.  So here’s the latest in my ‘organized’ world, heading into these next few months as we prep for taxes.

1.       Stay on top of it.

Little by little, week by week, keep up with your record keeping throughout the year, especially if you’re in business for yourself.  Feeling remorseful about 2016 and digging through all of them now?  Don’t.  Just make it happen for 2017.

2.       Set a date now to complete and send ‘em in.

If you have an accountant, make your appointment ASAP.  Save time and perhaps money by mailing, faxing or scanning in your supporting documents.  Many tax offices are encouraging this now so use and trust this time of technology to your benefit!  And with the beauty of software like Quickbooks Online (or others), you can upload receipts right through a phone app!

If you do your own taxes, go ahead and set a deadline on your calendar.  Deadlines create the opportunity for finishing a task.  And absolutely don’t put off this chore until mid-April (again…maybe this is for next year). By procrastinating, you’re adding unnecessary stress, panic and possibly creating missed deductions for yourself by rushing through it.

3.       Label a folder.

As your W2s and other tax documents come in the mail, immediately put them in your current ‘Taxes’ folder.  When it comes time to sit down with Turbo Tax or send them to your accountant, they’re all set.  As the year progresses, file any charity deductions, expenses or other items you’ll need for this time next year.

4.       Trust the professionals. 

Yes, by paying to have them done for you, you lose a little bit of cash.  What do you gain?  Quite likely, 5-10 hours of your time (or more) AND money that is rightfully yours.  Accountants shouldn’t click the wrong buttons by accident and should know all the right questions to ask on your behalf.  As quickly as tax laws are changing these days, I’m happy that I’m paying someone else to know them inside and out.

5.       Make a plan and stick to it.

Getting a return?  Set smart goals now for that money and don’t get sucked in to the marketing campaigns in March and April to spend it immediately.  For example, a VERY GOOD thing to do with that unbudgeted money is to throw it down on your mortgage principle or put it into a high-interest earning savings account.  The same of course goes if you may owe taxes for a small business.  Get a plan in place now to be saving for and paying quarterly taxes.

Good luck with the April 18th deadline!  We’re always here if you need help.