Organizing for taxes

Dear Kathi,

This year my taxes took an overwhelming amount of time to prepare for my accountant. How can I reduce the time I spend next year organizing my taxes?

Rita, Cardiff by the Sea


Keep all of your tax related receipts together. Maintain an envelope in your purse or a section in your wallet to hold tax-related receipts. Pull these receipts regularly and file them into a pre- designated tax archive system. Filing cabinets, expanding pocket files, or a box with sections will suffice. Whatever system you choose, separate your receipts by tax category.
If you are unsure about which categories to use, refer to your last tax return. If you itemize your deductions, you will see which categories to copy. Duplicate these within your filing system. Next year you will simply total each category to determine the sum for each individual deduction.
If you want to go a step further and really simplify your tax process, put your finances into a computer bookkeeping program. QuickBooks is an excellent tool and well worth the time invested learning the program.
With QuickBooks, you should be able to prepare for taxes in less than five minutes next year. You’ll simply print a profit & loss report and a balance sheet. You could even forgo the in-person appointment and email these reports to your accountant.

Another advantage of using a computer for your bookkeeping is that you should be able to reconcile your bank accounts effortlessly every month. Streamline your finances and minimize your headaches. Learn QuickBooks, file your receipts regularly and next year you will be able to prepare for your taxes in a snap!

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San Diego Professional Organizer

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