- Use a worksheet – A worksheet will help you stay focused and reduce overwhelm. Here is a 2012 Tax Worksheet my Accountant sent me earlier this year that you can use as a guide. Note: although this is for tax year 2012, not much changes on the worksheet from year to year.
- Schedule Time – To reduce the stress of completing a task, especially one that is difficult for you, you will need to create a block, or several blocks of uninterrupted time so that you can really focus. When do you focus best? Morning, afternoon, late evening? Schedule the task during a peak time so that you can stay energized.
- Stay laser focused – If your tax documents are buried in a pile of unopened mail, now is not the time to deal with(or worry about) general paper clutter. Stay laser focused on the task at hand which is to locate and consolidate your end of year tax documents.
- Create Space – If you are going to be working with receipts, you will need space to spread out. Use your dining room or other large surface so that you can comfortably sort receipts and gather the documents you’ll need.
- Handle receipts efficiently – to quickly deal with your receipts, we recommend organizing them in a neat pile and quickly going through them and circling the amount, date and what it’s for. The next step is to sort them according to category. If you have a business, categories will include things like advertising, professional memberships, business travel etc. For your personal taxes you’ll want to gather your tax deductible receipts such as medical and dental expenses. Once the receipts are sorted, enter the total into your worksheet.
- Leverage on line banking – Rather than dealing with paper bank statements, download your banking activity for the year into a spreadsheet. You can then sort the data to quickly get the information you need.
Do you have any tax time tips that you swear by? Leave a comment and let us know!