I am excited to share with you a guest post from Amber, known as the Tidy Lady. I have featured Amber in the past with her post on How To Create a Recipe Binder and Spring Cleaning 101: Kitchen Cupboards and Drawers. Amber has the gift of organizing when it comes to loose paper, so I wanted to collaborate with her and have her share her unique and practical ideas once again! Also, don't forget to check out her Etsy shop, that is FILLED with colorful and easy-to-use printables!
Hi Everyone! It's Amber from tidylady.net and this is the first post of many on a series I'm doing here on Organizing Life with Less called "Organizing with Paper."
Ahhh Tax Season! Even though this year's tax season just past, I wanted to share with you all a post about how to be even better organized with taxes, while preparing for the upcoming year. Organization is crucial for an easy, breezy tax season. When it comes to taxes, it doesn't matter how complicated or uncomplicated yours are, there's always some sort of documentation that is needed. Organization is also the way to maximize on all of your tax credits too in order to hopefully score a bigger return!
I personally have a lot going on, so I have set myself up a special tax folder. It is a folder with the three hole rings which allows me to put in sheet protectors. I love sheet protectors because it is:
1) a folder you can see through
2) organizes so many loose items that you need for taxes
3) a cheap and simple solution to getting organized!
Let's take a look: I have a section for my business, my house/real-estate, donations, investments and my job. Within the business & real estate section I have a sheet protector filled with receipts for expenses. It is SO important to keep receipts and keep them all in one spot. I also use a printable that I sell in my Etsy Shop which I'm giving away FREE here to help record all those receipts & expenses right away so it saves so much time at tax season! If you ever get audited (hopefully that never happens!) you will want and need all of these receipts to show proof of your expenses. The IRS can legally go back 6 years to audit so save all this paperwork and receipts at least this long! Each year I make a new tax folder like the one shown above so I can easily reference all my paperwork for a particular year.
If you own a small business and work from home, don't forget to record things you use everyday such as electricity, a portion of your square footage, internet, etc. Sit down and really think about what you use; these are expenses! Need to dress up? Your professional clothing is an expense. Use office supplies? That printer, ink, pens, pencils, paperclips and binders are all expenses! Keep receipts & statements of all of these items and document. In addition, I am giving away yet ANOTHER FREE PRINTABLE in this post too, to record your gas mileage! You can get huge credits for mileage, up to $.56 a mile - see all current mileage rates here: 2014 Mileage Rates. With these printables, your accountant will love you!
REAL ESTATE TAXES:
If you own a home or any real estate don't forget to include property taxes as part of your expenses as well as homeowners insurance. If any updates or remodels are being done on the property save those reciepts and use them as a write off! Keep track of all expenses with the expense log printable. If you own rental property, you must include the rents as part of your income.
If you own any investments, those also need to be reported and are viewed as income. Don't forget to let your accountant know about these either to avoid any legal trouble.
Lastly, don't forget about donations. You get tax credits for those too. Anytime you donate as a business to a charity or foundation you should receive a letter or form stating the item, description, amount, etc. SAVE THESE!! Very important in terms of proving donations if you ever get audited. If you don't own a business you still can get tax credits for donations. Ever clean out the basement and drop a car-full of stuff off at Goodwill? That's a donation. When you drop off items, they should give you a slip you can save for taxes. Put that in your tax folder! Also keep track of anytime you give to your church, kid's school or any other charitable organization.
1. Always fill out all paperwork 100%. Keep all social security numbers for you and your dependents in one (safe) place. Not filling everything out correctly will delay filing.
2. Make a tax appointment this year for next year with your tax accountant. Accountants can get crazy busy and booked up fast. If you're an employee, scheduling an appointment anytime after January 31 is ok because that's when W2's are legally due.
3. Get an appointment as early as possible. Why delay the inevitable? As long as you are prepared, book that appointment right away. Your accountant will probably be less frazzled in Feburary than in April. Plus, there will be more time to catch any mistakes if there are some.
4. Don't depend just on your accountant. While it is their profession to counsel you and do your taxes, not all accountants are created equal. Take time to go to IRS TAX CREDITS & DEDUCTIONS page and see if there is anything else you can use.
5. Even though your accountant may not physically need to see it, keep all statements. Keep all credit card, bank statements and investment statements in one file and paperclip them together by month. If there are any questions you can easily refer back.
I hope this all makes tax season a little easier for you next year! Until next month when we discuss easy meal planning solutions in our series "Organizing with Paper."
Happy Organizing Everyone!
TWO FREE PRINTABLES!
Gas Mileage Tracker
Also, don't forget about the Blog Buddy Planner Giveaway that is also going on!a Rafflecopter giveaway
AND...the $60.00 Credit/Discount to Evgie.com - wall decals that can transform any room!a Rafflecopter giveaway