I know, I know. I hate it, too. But since it has to be done, I figured I’d share some of my tips…before it’s too late. Don’t worry! You still have more than a month, right?
In our house, my January project is TAXES. Christmas has been packed up and put away, there are no longer nightly functions to attend, and life seems like it just might be getting back to normal.
All year long, I’ve been saving receipts, documents, statements…anything and everything that affects taxes. You know why? Because we itemize! Oh yes! And you would be surprised at the things you can write off!
I get started by pulling all of our files for the past year, scanning them in digitally, filing them and cross-referencing them on a flash drive. (A flash drive which I really need to back up – it has EVERYTHING on it!) Then I can safely dispose of all the paperwork, and the filing cabinet looks nice and free once more.
At that point, not only do I have all of my documents for the year, but I also know exactly where everything is!
Now, here’s the kick: I don’t do our taxes myself.
I believe in doing those things you’re good at, and even perfecting your skills to be the best that you can be! I, however, am nowhere near good at anything involving these kind of numbers, and I do NOT believe in trying to stress myself out in order to fulfill any kind of Superwoman complex. Thankfully, my fantastic cousin spent some time working for H&R Block, and she has done our taxes for the past three years. She does a great job – I just turn it all over to her and wait for the news…good or bad!
Over the past few years, I’ve created a list of personal things I need to remember to “report” to her, however, I work off of a neat printable from Money Your Way – if you don’t have a tax checklist, this will help you tremendously! Between these main points and all my smaller notes, it’s pretty simple to gather all the necessary information.
My main problem has always been the receipts. And it got even worse this year.
The reason it became even more overwhelming was because in 2012, not only did I incur expenses from my full-time job (which is rare for me), but also from my part-time photography business (which is quite the norm) and from my part-time organizing business (which was a brand new endeavor). Not to mention receipts for our personal write-offs! So I had receipts coming out the wazoo! I finally got it together, but it was difficult. Right after I finished everything I came across this:
What a great idea!!! It’s a pretty jar (LOVE the label!) yet it’s still functional, and guess what? You can have as many jars as you want! If, at the end of the day, or even at the end of the week, you gather the receipts out of your purse or wallet, and deposit them into the proper jar, by the time you’re done with the year and it’s time for taxes, you’re all set! I’m in the process of creating my jars now – I’ll show them when they’re all finished!
By the end of January, I have scanned and electronically filed all of the year’s data, gathered all the information on the main checklist and my custom checklist, organized and totaled receipts for itemization, and simply have to wait on our W2’s to arrive. As soon as we receive those, I scan everything and email it to my wonder-workin’ cousin. Boom. Done. And it’s only the end of January!
Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to tax time? Do you do your own? You’re my hero! What’s your best tax-time organizing tip?
See ya along the road,