Tips for Getting Your Taxes Done On Time
Taxes. Ugh. Do you feel like they sneak up on you every year? Do
you do your taxes in a panic, submit your forms and forget
about it for another 364 days? Unfortunately, the funny thing about
taxes is that they are always due at the same time each year. You
can't say you weren't warned.
The reality is that most people put off unpleasant tasks and
preparing an income tax form is one of those tasks. When you do
your taxes at the last minute, you may miss some deductions or make
other errors that will cost you money. If you owe the government
money and submit your taxes late, you will be penalized and you may
be charged a monthly percentage based on the balance owing. Do you
really want to give away more of your money?
By setting up a few simple systems you can stay on top of your
finances year round. Recently, the Professional Organizers in
Canada published the following article, 8 Ways to Stay Ahead
and Organized this Tax Season, on the
Huffington Post. Try out their advice on the habits you should
develop to help you sail through the next tax season.
8 Ways to Stay Ahead and Organized this Tax
As income tax season creeps forward, many of us wince at the
thought of dealing with bursting glove compartments or drawers of
faded disorganized receipts, missing electronic documents and the
ensuing weekend or evenings spent slaving over the associated
paperwork and electronic chores.
Here are 8 tips to help you stay organized and stress-free while
filing your taxes:
1. Whether you receive your bills
electronically or via the mail, make a "TO PAY" folder (in your
inbox or a file at your desk) to pop them in as they arrive. When
it's time to pay your bills they're all in one place and you can be
confident that you haven't missed any.
2. For your income tax, if there is
anything you're not sure how to deal with, don't agonize over it.
Stick a post-it outlining the issue onto the paperwork in question
and place it in an Income Tax file labeled "Research" or "Ask the
3. Most email software tools have a
'rules' application that will automatically file emails into
folders until you are ready to view them. This works well for
non-important, frequent emails such as weather notifications or
coupon offers. So you can choose to sit in front of the fire with
your laptop to look at them at your leisure instead of having an
inbox jumbled with unimportant information.
4. Keep a few zip lock bags and a pen in your
car, briefcase or purse. Each month, label a fresh bag with the
date. Anytime you get a receipt, just pop it into the bag and
collect the bag at the end of the month, transferring any receipts
from your purse or wallet at that time. It will be easier to sort
through 30 or 40 receipts at a time rather than 500 at the end of
- For business receipts, try to jot the client name or reason for
the purchase onto the receipt when you get it. You'll save tons of
time with your claims if you don't have to rely on your memory when
you're submitting them.
- Be kind to yourself and schedule a block of quiet time to
prepare your taxes or gather paperwork for your tax professional.
Most people don't enjoy these projects so arrange for child care,
pour yourself a coffee and get it done in a concentrated time
rather than attempting to keep your concentration while doing the
laundry or driving the kids back and forth to activities.
- If you have older kids, ask them to help you with the work.
It's great experience as they enter the working world and they can
match receipts to statements or enter gas bills into a spreadsheet.
They'll be managing their own finances in a few years so they'll
get a birds-eye view and you'll only have to deal with the tougher
- Most of all, keep in mind that 'done' is definitely better than
'perfect.' If you have to stress, do it over a big problem and be
kind to yourself if you have misplaced a few receipts.