Thursday, February 12, 2015

It's not the most wonderful time of the year: tax time

Before becoming a stay-at-home-mom I spent almost 8 years working at a public accounting firm.  During that time, these first few months of the year were filled with taxes.  A lot of them.  I probably did close to 1,000 personal returns in my time there along with countless corporate returns.  I've done almost every tax form I know of (my least favorite were those for non-profits.  I'd advise avoiding those at all costs).  I've done a lot of taxes.

That means I've gone through thousands and thousands of pages of tax documents, documentation, and other random paperwork people think is important (it's usually not).  I've dealt with people who need until October to get their stuff together, people who can't find forms, and the highly organized (my favorite).  I have a little experience with filing taxes.  In my opinion, it's pretty easy to get your crap together. 

Here's what you do:
Make a file for the current year taxes.  When paperwork comes in throughout the year (probably mostly related to charitable donations), add them to the file.  When you start getting W-2s, 1099s, and other forms in January, add them to the file.  Presto.  Most of your tax information is now gathered.*

This isn't rocket science.  Reading and understanding the tax code might be as complicated as that but most of our returns aren't.

Start a folder for 2015, if you haven't, and next year your paperwork will be that much more organized.  Your tax preparer will thank you.  Even if you prepare your own.

(This now ends all tax advice I ever plan to give on this blog.  Partially because I don't keep up on it anymore besides the parts that pertain to me.  Also, I don't want to give you bad advice.)

*If you run a business of any kind your taxes are obviously more complicated.  Good luck.  

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