ReBlogging for Tax Time
Okay, it’s tax time. <<THE HORROR!>> Just kidding.
During my day job, I am a CPA. That required learning about taxes to pass the test. I took a class and was hooked. I decided not to do taxes for work. Now, I do taxes for fun. (Yeah, most of you think I’m weird or sick in the head). I really enjoy looking at all the numbers and different ways things can be worked to determine the best outcome for my clients.
After doing taxes for businesses and individuals for more than 10 years, here is some advice. Bookmark this list. I see this stuff come through all the time, save yourself some time by eating that elephant in the room, one bite at a time.
- Keep a brightly colored tax folder where you stick all your mail. If it says “Tax Document” or you think it relates, stick it in there!
- Add a notebook to the tax folder. Use this notebook to document questions you have throughout the year.
- Monthly/Quarterly (More frequently than your 1 visit to the the tax office), clean out the folder from step 1. Get rid of outdated information, e.g. statements from March can usually be replaced by April statements etc.
- At the end of the year, organize your folder. Put all your pay information and W2s together. Don’t mix your business expenses in with your personal interest statements. You don’t want to pay me for the time it takes to organize your things.
- Keep at least 1 ticket from the Goodwill or other donation box. Attach this ticket to the notebook tucked into the tax folder. Keep a running list of all things donated and the date: 12 bags of clothes on Feb 12th.
- Review your pay-stub during the year. Work with your tax adviser to make sure you are withholding enough, especially if you have had any job changes or raises.
- Review your W2. Look at the amount you got paid (box 1)- shocking how much we lose to bills isn’t it? Look at the funny codes in boxes 12 and 14. Make sure they make sense.
- Bring your tax adviser last years’ taxes, especially if you are using someone new.
- Ask questions, lots and lots of questions. Your tax adviser should have answers or offer to look up your questions for you. Don’t trust your taxes to someone who doesn’t ever need to ‘look things up’. Laws change every year, its best to verify anything that might not be totally clear.
- Talk. Talk to your tax adviser about all the things that went on in your life over the course of the year. Kid graduate and go to college – you might still be able to claim that kid and an education credit to boot! You never know what nugget of information will bring you more money at tax time.