Tax Day - Keeping the Record by Diane GastonApril 15, the dreaded TAX DAY.
If you are like me, you hate the idea of doing taxes. It's been years since doing taxes was easy and all I had to find were the W2 forms. As life became more complex so did the taxes. A few years ago we decided to use an accountant to do them for us. Expensive, yes, but worth every penny to keep me from having an anxiety attack.
Using an accountant does not prevent my having to keep records, unfortunately. Every year I vow to do better so I don't have to search through five boxes to find everything. This year my first search failed to discover my husband's W2s (panic time....) I did find them, but I didn't find the record of my personal property tax. That required a phone call.
It did occur to me that I could make my life easier next year. Here's how. (and it is so simple)
1. Keep an excel record of my writing income and expenses. I started this a couple of years ago and even though I slacked off in the middle of the year, it saved me so much time.
Here are my writing categories:
Income, Website, Promotion/Advertising, Travel/Meals, Conference Fees, Contests, Dues, Books/Magazines (for research), Books Promotional (my own books purchased to use for promotion), Supplies, Postage
You might have other categories.
2. Keep all your tax records in one place.
I use a clear plastic envelope and this year I vow to put everything I'll need for taxes in it so I don't have to search through several boxes come April 10 next year.
I used to keep organized files of bills and statements in an accordion file, each section nicely labeled. Including one labeled "taxes" but I never actually needed 99% of those records. Now I keep everything in a box and search it only if necessary. I learned my lesson, though. For the few things I need for taxes, file them in one place.
Any other tips? I'm open to learn....
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