No Sweat Tax Tips !!

By Karen M. Rossum

March 1997

(Our friend, Karen Rossum, is a Professional Organizer. Here are some of her suggestions to make assembling your tax information easier. If you are suffering from a cluttered office or would like to better manage your time and workload, call Karen at (408) 688-2550.)

Tired of sweating it out when it's time to gather your tax records?

Looking for an alternative to those overstuffed shoe boxes, bags or envelopes you used last year?

In no time at all, you can set up a system that will save you time, frustration and money.

Start by getting Quicken, the easy-to-use record keeping software program favored by shoe box converts everywhere. It's simple to learn. Once you've set up the categories you need, recording income and expenses is less cumbersome than writing in your checkbook. You can do it daily, weekly, or monthly.

Next, set up an accordion file with one pocket for each of the tax-related categories you created in Quicken. As receipts come in, just slip them into the appropriate pocket of the file. Paper clip the receipts together later, after you have entered them in your Quicken account.

At year-end, use Quicken to run a final report for each category, then slip the report into its designated accordion slot. And that's IT! Now your tax records are in order and ready for calculation.

More Tips to Take the Trouble out of Tax Preparation

  1. Start a new check register every year. Even if you've already made entries for the new year in last year's register, just copy them into a new one. It'll just take a few moments and will make it easier at tax time next year. File last year's registers with related canceled checks and other income tax back-up materials. Note: Nifty storage boxes for this purpose are available from Hold Everything.
  2. When you pay a tax-related bill, write the check number and amount paid on each receipt. File it immediately in its respective category slot in your accordion file. Keep the accordion file close at hand when you pay your bills.
  3. At year-end, empty the accordion file for reuse, and store all receipts and back-up materials with that year's tax returns.
  4. For tax-related items charged on credit cards, just file merchants' receipts in the proper accordion file slot. Be sure to designate a slot in which to put credit card statements after paying them.

Congratulations! With these new systems in place, this year's tax preparation will be easier and next year's a breeze!

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