Is it possible to get ready to file your taxes and not hate it in the process? I really have no idea. I hate it, every time. Compiling that kind of paperwork makes me edgy and I do not like having my nerves on edge. So, what did I used to do? Procrastinate! When my back was up against a wall, and April 15th was closing in on me, then I would force myself to get it done.
Here is a tax calculator that will help you=> ☑️ Estimate Your Tax Refund
My dad was somewhat the same way. When we were kids, my dad did all of the income tax reporting from start to finish. He was a detail oriented kind of guy. Mom would warn us “be very quiet, kids, daddy’s doing taxes!” It was the one time of year that our mild-mannered hero was grouchy. We tip toed around, heeding her advice.
In my own case, I only gather the information and take it to a CPA (certified public accountant.) Even so, getting the paperwork organized is stressful! To reduce some of the pressure, and get it over as quickly as possible, I have developed an organizing plan that works for me. If you don’t have one of your own, you might want to give it a try.
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How To Get Records Ready For The Tax Preparer
How to get your tax information ready:
• Make an appointment with your tax professional. Do this first. It gives you a deadline, which will help to keep you on track. Have your personal calendar handy so that you do not accidentally double-book yourself. Write the appointment on your calendar. When I do it, I also set an alert on my phone to remind me of that appointment ahead of time.
• Clear off the work space. I cannot work in clutter. All I can think of is how everything around me needs to be put away! The kitchen table is my favorite work-space so I totally empty the table top and get all of the distracting contents out of view.
• Gather your tools. Collecting and recording information to bring to your income tax expert can be daunting. Getting everything in order helps me to focus on the task at hand. I try to keep it simple and add a little atmosphere to make it more bearable.
- New spiral notebook. I use this to make a short list of every item I will need. That way I can check off each task as it is completed. Typically, as I get into the process, I remember something else I will need to do. With a notebook sitting there, I can write it down so that I don’t forget. I try to pick out a notebook with a pretty cover that I really like. It is a just little special treat for me.
- Pencil or erasable pen. I would love to think I could write everything neatly the first time, but that never happens. Rather than scratching things off, it is nice to be able to erase errors. I love using a new pencil or pen just to make it feel more special – I did tell you I hate tax time, right? I guess it is my way to make it feel a little better.
- Coffee. Now, if you are given to spilling things, you might want to skip this. I work better with a hot cup of coffee at hand, in my favorite inspirational mug, of course. Not a coffee drinker? Select your beverage of choice.
- Calculator – use your calculator or let your spreadsheet do it for you. Simply put, you are going to have a lot of numbers to add up! Tip: If having your phone nearby is a distraction, don’t use the calculator on the phone. Use a portable calculator instead, turn the phone off and put it in the charging station.
- Folders. You may be ahead of the game and have folders set up. If you don’t, then get some new file folders. You will need them.
• Gather the pertinent tax paperwork* that you have received from employers, banks and non-profits to whom you have donated. *If you work online, you may have to access some of those income reports by computer. Print hard copies of them.
The IRS provides a list =>☑️ Tax Form Checklist
• Pull out your sales receipts, credit card records, mileage logs and any other documentation that could lead to getting a tax deduction. More => 9 Things You Didn’t Know Were Tax Deductible
• Get out your copy of last year’s tax returns.
• Label your folders. Call them: donations, receipts, pay records, tax records, medical records, etc.
• Sort all of those records into the proper, labeled folders.
• Set up a tax record spread sheet on the computer. This is where you will record all of you tax information: income, expenses, etc. Your tax preparer will NOT go through your papers for you, except for confirming the legal documents. This is a job that you must do. Be sure to put your name, address, email address and phone number on it. When your spreadsheet is complete, save your work and print out a hard copy of it to bring to the tax preparation professional with the rest of your records.
• Record results on a spreadsheet on your computer.
• Review your work. Be sure that nothing is missing.
• Place all of your folders into a portable file. Depending on how much you have, an expandable file may work or you may want to move to a brief case or file box.
• Bring everything to your tax preparation specialist.
Note: this job may take you more than one day. If you know you will need to stop and start up again, have a safe place to put everything. Putting those folders into a portable file is probably the simplest way to do it.
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More helpful information=> How To Get Ready For A Tax Preparer
And ==============> Who Can Do My Taxes for Free?
Note: this post is not meant to be tax preparation advice. It is simply a list of organizing tips to help to you to get ready to meet with your accountant or tax professional who will prepare your tax returns for you.
This is great information. I like to stay organized as I go doing my books and monthly summaries every month. Since the ink on cash register receipts has a habit of fading, I make a photocopy of each receipt then tape the original on the photocopy. I keep sleeves in a 3-ring binder labeled for each month where I keep all the receipts, monthly business mileage records, and income/expense records.