How to survive tax season

taxes pic All the tax forms are here.  Now what?

I conducted a highly scientific survey of my bookkeeper, Kay Ashley (mk.ashley@mac.com), and CPAs Jenn & Keith Klein (jenn.e.klein@gmail.com), consisting of the following highly scientific question: what can we do to stop annoying bookkeepers and CPAs at tax time?

The following are the highly scientific results (with some additional information from me):

Step 1:  Set one appointment with your bookkeeper and another with your CPA. Having these deadlines will encourage you to get started on the document compilation. Also, it will allow the professionals to manage their caseload around that date.

Step 2:  Buy a plastic expandable file like this one and label the sections with categories that are relevant to your family. Here are some possibilities:

  • birth / adoption
  • teacher expenses
  • medical expenses
  • volunteer expenses
  • donations
  • small business
  • home business
  • major purchases
  • financial institution statements
  • mortgage interest statements
  • retirement account statements

Step 3:  Pick one category and set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes. Compile all of the documents and receipts for that category. As you put receipts in the expandable file, note any relevant information for your CPA or bookkeeper to use. If you’re done in 30 minutes, congrats! If not, repeat this step each day until all documents are compiled.

Step 4:  Meet with your professionals and bring all of your documents, even if you are unsure if they will help with the process. Sending information in different emails or different appointments can get confusing. Get tax advice from the professionals--advice from friends is not the same.

Step 5:  Consider if any adjustments to your financial portfolio need to be altered due to your tax return this year. Make those with your company’s HR department, financial institutions, mortgage company, etc.

Follow these steps and enjoy being stress-free as April 15 approaches!

Image courtesy of patpitchaya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net