Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fifteen on the Fifteenth

For most people tax time is over.  How did it go for you this year?  Did you have all your receipts in one place and ready to go?  Did you procrastinate because you had to hunt for important forms and ended up leaving everything to the last minute?

Let's make next year's tax time much easier by taking 15 minutes every month on the fifteenth to gather up all of our important receipts and keep them in one place.  Today, I want you to decide the best place for you to keep all your receipts.  If you hate to file or already have a lot of filing to do, then choose the old, shoe-box method.  Perhaps a large, manila envelope in a kitchen cupboard would work better for you.  Because Mr. P. and I run our own business, we actually have a banker's box that we keep all our tax receipts in.  I label the top with the year and each year in January I take the box dated 7 years earlier out and shred all of the documents in there - be sure to check how long you need to keep tax files before you do this.

If you do your taxes online, write your password somewhere with your receipts (like on the envelope, the shoe-box lid or on the inside of a file folder) so that you don't lose it.  If you send your taxes forms to an accountant to be filled out, then have all of the contact information nearby so that it will be easier to make arrangements to drop everything off come tax time next year.

Each month on the fifteenth we will go through the tax receipts and make sure that everything is in there.  If you signed your child up for soccer in May, it will be easier to remember to include the receipt in your files in  June than it will be trying to remember that receipt in March of next year.  If you quit a job in February, make sure that you write yourself a note to be sure that you get the proper forms from that employer early next year.

Let's take this small amount of time each month to save us a huge amount of time next year!  Twelve months of 15 minutes each month is 3 hours saved next April and I really believe that it will save you at least twice that amount of time since you won't be spending hours looking for receipts and calling to get the proper forms.  Paying taxes can be stressful enough; let's not add to the stress by being prepared next year.

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