With increasing demands on our time, we could all learn a lesson or two about working smarter, not harder. This is particularly true this time of year when the weather has turned (or in MN where it's just starting to turn) and we owe it to ourselves to get out and enjoy the weather. The tax man cometh and he doesn't care what else you'd rather be doing. My colleague, Kathy Green from A Little Help, Inc. is a money manager and she has a few tips to help you reduce the amount of time getting ready for taxes.
Already done for this year? Resolve to incorporate a few of these tips NOW so next year's taxes will be easier and less stressful!
Every year, most of us find tax time stressful. One thing you can do to reduce some of the anxiety is to keep your tax-related information organized throughout the year. Then, when it’s time to gather your records to take them to your tax preparer or to sit down and prepare your return yourself, everything will be in one spot and you’ll be ready to go. Put an end to searching through desk drawers or calling people for duplicate statements with just a few simple steps.
Set aside one specific spot for tax-related information. Set up a file, a desk drawer or even a shoe box and every time during the year that something comes in that you know you will need for your taxes, put the document in your tax spot. The secret is to just have one spot for these records.
Not everything comes in at the end of the year. Some items you might come across during the year are things like receipts from charitable donations, both cash and non-cash donations; the receipt from renewing your car license; property tax statements; receipts from any refunds you may receive; and, receipts for any major work you may have done to your home.
One more important tip – if you receive mail during the year from your state Department of Revenue or the IRS make sure you open it and respond to it if need be. Ignoring that mail is not an option. Your tax preparer will be happy to help you understand the notice you’ve received and would probably help you with your response.
Training yourself to put your records in one spot really will help reduce some of the stress at tax time. Try it!
Thanks for the helpful tips, Kathy!
Kathy Green is the President of A Little Help, Inc, a money management service for seniors in the Twin Cities Metro Area.