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Creating a Simple System for Filing Taxes

by Lisa Woodruff

Feb 12, 2021 | Episode 380 | 23:49

The older you get and the more #adulting you do, the more you realize there are taxes for everything. There are almost as many kinds of taxes as there are kinds of insurance. When I was younger, and taxes seemed easier, I used to do our taxes myself using TurboTax. Now, our finances are much more complicated, and we use an accountant to file our taxes. However, I have a process that lets me get my paperwork ready in three to four hours total!

When I was an in home professional organizer, I saw many people request extension on their personal income tax filings. Not because they didn’t know how to do their taxes. Not because they didn’t have the money to pay the taxes. All because they did not have their tax documentation in order.They have to get their paperwork under control in order to complete their taxes.

I want to help you become proactive instead of reactive in approaching your taxes, so today I am sharing some of my own processes for making taxes easy. I always work on my taxes in February (usually during the Super Bowl). Back when I was a Creative Memories consultant, I learned to organize my business taxes using the IRS Schedule C categories. 

First, every January 1, I add a green slash pocket to my Sunday Basket® labeled “Taxes” to keep all of my incoming paperwork together and organized. 

As I have shared before, I recommend you make your decisions in advance whenever possible. Establish habits and routines to reduce decision fatigue. Here are my lessons to make tax time easier.

  1. If you have a business, figure out how you will categorize expenses related to Schedule C categories. A few years ago, I made a cheatsheet of my categories and how I group expenses to keep my categories uniform from year to year. I also recommend making checklists for yourself of annual tasks (writing down mileage for vehicles) and for the papers you are expecting in the mail (income, mortgage, bank, investment statements). 

  2. Keep up with recording your expenses monthly. I recommend the Organize 365 Income and Expense Binder as your one place to keep your receipts, documentation, and to track your expenses. This way you will know how your expenses are affecting your profitability every month and can adjust as needed.

  3. Record your income monthly. This will help you to recognize the many ways you are generating income in your business and you can adjust where you spend your energy so that you are focusing on the most effective parts of your business. 

If you spend a few hours each month, then at the end of the year you can do your inventory counts and be ready for tax time. 

The Organize 365 Income and Expense Binder is what I have used in all of my businesses to keep track of income, expenses, and mileage. If you do not have a similar system set up for your business finances already, you can purchase this from our shop at https://organize365.com/product/annual-income-expense-binder 

I am excited to share my simple system for income taxes with you. However, I am not a tax advisor or accountant, so these are my personal thoughts. Please do not use them as tax advice and consult your own professional for information about your specific situation.