Without a strategic approach to completing your taxes, the entire process can get so overwhelming that you may feel inclined to throw in the towel and scrap the whole thing.
Since that’s not really an option for most of us, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite ways to get motivated and stay organized this tax season.
Do 10 minutes of taxes
Even when working with a tax professional, you still may be facing hours upon hours of organization – calculating finances, tallying expenses, and scouring bank statements for potentially lucrative write offs.
No wonder people dread doing their taxes! It’s like finals weeks during undergrad and then some.
In order to get organized for tax time, break up the giant project into tiny, digestible chunks of time. Set the timer on your phone for no more than 10 minutes (or less if you’re really unmotivated!) During that time, do as much as you can. If you end up staring at a big pile of receipts for 10 minutes, that totally counts (but wait a second – throw those receipts in your Magic Envelope and be done with it!).
Chances are that you’ll end up doing more than 10 minutes. Getting started is the hardest part, and once you’re in the zone, productivity will flow like Diet Coke in the break room.
Make a list
For small business owners, a big part of what it means to get organized for tax time is attending to the dozens of moving parts that make up your taxes.
Creating an uber-specific list of what you need to do is a great way to make the project more manageable.
Instead of listing “write-offs, income, expenses,” dig deeper:
“Travel write-offs from Phoenix: Check bank statements and Shoeboxed receipts, email Larry for a copy of receipt from dinner, don’t forget to include bellhop gratuity.”
With a specific list, half of your work is already done because you’ve created a strategic plan that will guide you as you go. And is there anything more satisfying making a list and checking things off? (Ok, we’re organization geeks, we admit it.)
One of the easiest way to to get organized for tax time is to get friendly with your cloud-based application’s export feature.
Whether you’re utilizing Shoeboxed, FreshBooks, Elance or PayPal, you can export the previous year’s activity to speed up the time it takes to do your taxes.
In your Shoeboxed account, you can select the “Export all” option to create a detailed Excel spreadsheet, export to accounting programs like QuickBooks or Wave, and even create a PDF report with receipt images.
Exporting is half the tax battle! With a single click you can cut down on hours of tallying time.
What are your top three ways to get organized for tax time?
photo credit: www.wannanetwork.com