Tax Time Tune Up

Excerpted from the new book, "How to Do Space Age Work with a Stone Age Brain" TM

The complete article with pictures and sample Auto Log is available at www.organize.com

Every year American companies lose millions of dollars in productivity to employees who end up taking their own personal time off to do their taxes. Whether you are filing by paper from just one W-2 or running multiple enterprises, streamlining now will pay off this year and in future.

Applying these proven Tax Time Tune-Up tips will save you time, frustration and could even save you money. Even if you only reduce your stress level ? it's worth it! Start today by getting an archive box or file crate to hold all your tax related files and forms.

If you have a good filing system, but you keep getting bogged down in old records: Every January, pull last year's financial files, any business related expenses, proof of income and all tax related items. While you are taking old files out, make the replacement new file folders for all of your regular home and business or personal financial and legal documents.

If you have no functioning filing system for your home (or business) I recommend you sort out your papers for tax and archives after setting up the FileSolutions TM color-coded pre-printed file kit that fits your current filing needs (http://www.organize.com) That way you'll have the right place to put each item as you handle it. I use the Home and Small Business FileSolutions TM kits in my own business, which makes it easy for me to guarantee your satisfaction.

Tax Preparation Software: By using tax preparation software, you can finish your federal and state returns in about 90 minutes-if you've completed the steps above. The software helps you find deductions, does the math for you and tells you what you owe or what your refund will be. Use tax preparation software matched to your situation and financial software; there are several available (TaxCut, TurboTax, etc.).

I use TurboTax (by the makers of Quicken) to do my own taxes. If I can do it ? so can you! Then, I have a tax professional check my return for way less money than it would have cost me to have my business and personal taxes done by a tax professional.

Good News/Bad News: If your Adjusted Gross Income for 2004 is less than $28,000, or you qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit ? go to http://www.taxfreedom.com and use Intuit's TurboTax program online for FREE!

Online tax-preparation sites keep improving their do-it-yourself tax tools, ease of preparation and regular or e-filing expertise. These offer the same process as desktop software does but, it is all done online. After the products fo through your return for errors (and suggest possible tax-savings), you can print your completed return or file it electronically.

The IRS likes electronically filed returns so much, in fact, that it's set up specific developers that provide free prep and filing to certain demographic groups. Go to www.irs.gov to see if you qualify.

Some tax-preparation web sites are cheaper than their desktop counterparts. But they don't always have the most complete version of tax help that the desktop software does. There can also be additional costs of state filing services, sometimes at more expense than the federal counterparts. A recent PC Magazine rated the top three Tax Web Sites as: TurboTax (ààààà), TaxCut and Complete Tax (both àààà).

Make a file tray marked Tax Stuff every January. While sorting your mail put all 1099's, W-2's, and any tax-related material into it. You can also put colored accordion file pocket folders in your 'tax box' for incoming tax documentation.

Use your credit cards to simplify your accounting. Select which cards you will use for business, travel or expensed transactions, household, personal, and use only one card for all your internet transactions. Label your cards until the usage becomes second nature to you.

Credit card buyer-protection programs are useful in a merchandise or service dispute. Keeping only one credit card number exposed to the web limits your exposure to fraud. I use three cards only: business, personal, and web.

At month end use your credit card statements, auto/transaction log and checkbook to track expenses for your ledger or computer program instead of chasing all the receipts.

Keep a compartment, or envelope in your briefcase where you can easily stuff any receipts or notes. Then, use it. Have a drop box in your office for the expensable receipts from your briefcase or pockets. At home make a place to put any receipts that refer to warranties or personal property records.

After April 15th, archive all tax-related files: separate the previous year from your active files into an available (but not daily use) archive box. Put in a back-up disk or CD of your accounting program for that year along with the data. Also, put your calendar and a carbon copy phone message book in the tax archive box ? it's all proof of business use.

Place prior records into garage or closet storage. Mark each box on the outside by tax year and put all related tax backup documentation into it. Include a copy of the tax return itself, as well as any 1099s, W-2s etc.

Keep a transaction log for auto mileage and miscellaneous transactions. You must have a log to deduct auto expenses, and when you maintain a transaction log the IRS does not require that you keep receipts for expenses under $75.00. This documentation goes into your 'tax box' which becomes your 'tax archive box'.

You can set up your Personal Digital Assistant (e.g., PalmPilot) to use an Expenses Notes section to easily maintain your daily business expenses.

Save yourself money and stress by using these tips to get a jumpstart on 2004 taxes. Tune-up your own file system, or if you don't have one, use the cost-effective FileSolutions TM file kits. Or you can go all the way with new electronic preparation and filing to make sure this year is better than last April 15!

Since 1988, Eve Abbott has developed productivity systems for executives, managers and business owners so their teams can work at least 25% more effectively through her programs and hands-on consultations.

Ms. Abbott is the author of the How to Do Space Age Work with a Stone Age Brain? (2004). She has degrees in Sociology and Psychology from the University of California and holds a Lifetime Adult Teaching Credential. The Organizer Extraordinaire appears in New York Times, Working Woman and Home Office Computing articles. Her clients range from S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. to Hewlett Packard and Alameda County as well as countless professionals. More information is available at http://www.organize.com

In The News:

Opinion | Time for a global tax net for the internet  LivemintEven if an international consensus is hard to obtain on the taxation of digital services that make money off large user bases in countries like India, we should not ...
Filing out a tax return for the first time? Here are seven important tips  Business StandardThere are many who find income tax calculation and filing to be a tough task. However, reading and learning about it can turn out to be a skill useful for a lifetime.
GST Council meet on 21 June to focus on checking tax evasion  LivemintNEW DELHI: Goods and Services Tax Council, the federal indirect tax body, is set to take several decisions to curb tax evasion in its first meeting to be chaired ...
Is receiving money from friend through e-wallet taxable?  Economic TimesThrough e-wallets and UPI, it has become easy to send and receive money through your phone. Often, debts to friends may be settled in this manner.
How to file a loved one’s taxes after they’ve passed away  MarketWatchWhen a financially comfortable loved one departs, a bevy of tax issues can come into play.
What You Need to Know About Capital-Gains Taxes (but Probably Don’t)  The Wall Street JournalBy tax-law standards, the rules on capital-gains taxes may appear fairly straightforward, especially for taxpayers who qualify for a zero-percent rate. But many ...
Does Amazon Really Pay No Taxes? Here’s the Complicated Answer  The Wall Street JournalDemocratic presidential candidates have seized on reports that Amazon.com Inc. paid no 2018 federal taxes as they press for changes in the tax system.
Budget 2019: Govt may ask 'loss-making' companies to pay tax  India TodayThe finance ministry is likely to propose a minimum amount of tax on loss-making companies in the upcoming budget or just after that. However, genuine ...
Budget 2019 | Direct tax reforms – It’s a case of now or never!  Moneycontrol.comNaveen Aggarwal. Nineteen years into the 21st century and we are still following a tax law that is half a century old. A law that is now largely considered ...
G20 agrees to push ahead with digital tax  Economic TimesG20 nations have agreed to push ahead on compiling common rules to lock tax havens' door for tech giants.
US tax authorities admit to 'wrongly collecting millions of dollars' from Americans in France  The Local FranceThe struggle of American citizens living in France to protect themselves from inflated tax bills from the US has taken a positive turn, with US tax authorities ...
G20 agrees to wrap up digital tax by 2020  LivemintG20 finance ministers agreed to compile common rules to close loopholes used by global tech giants to reduce their corporate taxes.The new rules would also ...
Cut taxes to boost investments, growth, CII’s Kirloskar tells govt  LivemintThe Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has called upon the government to lower a broad range of taxes to encourage equity investments by both individuals ...
Tax-free bonds could be reintroduced in Budget  LivemintHighway sector has been one of the best performing areas of the government.Infra majors can hope Budget to approve *fresh* issue of tax free bonds to raise ...
Will these taxes make a comeback?  Morningstar IndiaUnion Budget 2019 will be presented in parliament on July 5, 2019, by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The mutual fund industry would love to see the roll ...
Treasury Finishes Rules Ending Blue-State Tax-Cap Workarounds  The Wall Street JournalThe Treasury Department is releasing final rules that shut down a tax-planning strategy for residents of high-tax states, nixing a workaround that could have ...
Filing Income Tax Returns? Avoid These Six Common Mistakes  News18From the intimidating number of forms available, to claiming deductions, in the last-minute rush to file income tax returns, make sure to keep in mind some details ...
Can today’s ultra-rich make peace with a wealth tax?  Financial TimesWealth taxes may not be as punitive as feared and might even encourage the entrepreneurial.
GST Council may tighten rules to curb tax evasion  Hindustan TimesGoods and Services Tax (GST) Council, the federal indirect tax body, is set to take several steps to curb tax evasion in its first meeting to be chaired by new ...
India Incs advance tax mop-up surges 171% in Q1, Mumbai collection up 133%  Business StandardIndia Inc's advance tax figures grew exponentially by 171 per cent during the first quarter of 2019-20, prompting the tax authorities to say that the economy may ...
House Democrat says current Congress may not see Trump taxes  ReutersA senior Democrat on a congressional panel seeking President Donald Trump's tax returns warned on Saturday that the current Congress may not see the ...
US wants to stall digital tax, hoping to wear down allies  BusinessLineIt is actively engaging at the OECD to settle on a long-term, multilateral solution.
Kerala Assembly Adopts Uniform Tax Rate on Lotteries Against Centre's Move  News18Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Assembly Monday adopted a resolution against the Centre's proposal to impose a uniform tax rate on lotteries instead of the ...
Govt plans fresh set of tax sops for startups in budget  Economic TimesThe department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) and the revenue department have discussed a package of tax sops in the forthcoming ...
New GST return forms to help authorities check tax evasion  LivemintNEW DELHI: Return forms proposed for the goods and services tax (GST) are set to put an end to one of the widely used methods for tax evasion—claiming ...
Budget 2019: Follow these simple steps to reduce your taxable income under new rules  India TodayNot even a month is left for the announcement of full Budget 2019 and the government is all set to make effective new income tax laws that will benefit millions of ...
Income Tax Dept trains officers to detect tax evasion in shell companies  BusinessLineThe Income Tax Department continues to focus and enhance the skills of Assessing Officers (AO) to detect black money laundered through shell companies.
NRIs need to file income tax return to get TDS refund  The Financial ExpressIncome from shifting from one scheme to another scheme of mutual funds is considered transfer and is subject to long term capital gains or short term capital ...
Biden Criticized Amazon for Not Paying Taxes. Here's His Record on Tax Reform  InsideSources2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden slammed Amazon for not paying any federal income taxes last year — mimicking comments from Bernie Sanders and.
Goods and services tax, a game changer? Not for home decor firms at least  LivemintAfter the goods and services tax (GST) was introduced in 2017, home decor companies were in the spotlight because plywood, laminate and ceramic tile ...
With growth wavering, I-T wants mopup target eased  Economic TimesCBDT has pitched a downward revised target from that presented in the interim budget to Sitharaman.
Pay first instalment of advance tax now  LivemintThe deadline to deposit the first out of total four instalments of advance tax for FY 2019-20 is on 15 June.Remember that you are just required to pay the advance ...
India is leading a global charge to make corporate giants pay fair tax  QuartzAt a Tokyo summit this weekend, G20 finance ministers are expected to give a thumbs-up to a "road map" proposing various ways to upend the system that lets ...
Transport operators to face higher tax  The Daily StarRoad and water transport operators are set to face 25 percent higher taxes on their earnings from next fiscal year as the revenue authority feels tax collection ...
Imran Khan follows PM Modi's footsteps, asks countrymen to pay taxes  India TodayPakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the countrymen to pay taxes and reminded them to take benefit of the 'last' Asset Declaration Scheme launched by ...
GST collection at ₹1 lakh cr in May below target, tax rate cut unlikely soon  LivemintGross collection at ₹1,00289 crore in May is lower than ₹1,13865 crore in April.A total of 72.45 lakh GSTR-3B returns were filed in May, higher than 72.13 lakh ...
DOJ releases legal opinion supporting Treasury refusal to turn over Trump tax returns  CNNThe Justice Department released Friday a new legal opinion supporting the Treasury secretary's refusal to hand over President Donald Trump's tax returns.
Nirmala Sitharaman should give tax benefits to common man, remove MAT in Budget: experts  BusinessLineIndustry chambers presses for reduction in corporate and personal income tax to help increase consumption and in turn promoting economic growth.
With his tax plans, Boris Johnson is gambling on the public's ignorance about the true nature of wealth  ProspectNot only do most voters have little idea of what an "average" wage is in reality, they also find it difficult to see the link between taxation and their local public ...
Own a home? Know your taxes  BusinessLineAt every stage in the life cycle of owning a house, be aware of the tax incidence. Here's a ready reckoner.
No New Taxes, Just Improve Data Mining  Economic TimesThe Narendra Modi government, in its second term, must have a credible plan to revive the economy that is expected to decelerate for a second consecutive ...
India notifies tax info exchange pact with Marshall Islands  BusinessLineThe agreement enables exchange of information, including banking and ownership information, between the two countries for tax purposes.
Pay high income tax? Govt may call you to have tea with the PM or FM  Business StandardIn a rather unconventional plan, the Ministry of Finance has decided to reward India's top income tax payers by inviting them to tea with the prime minister or the ...
Uber says IRS probing its 2013-14 tax returns  LivemintThe U.S. Internal Revenue *Service* is auditing Uber Technologies Inc's taxes for 2013 and 2014 and the ride-hailing company expects unrecognized tax benefits ...
Yes, Taxing the Rich Is Possible  The New York TimesThis article is part of David Leonhardt's newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it each weekday. For a long time, there was a predictable response to any ...
Income Tax returns deadline of July 31 likely to be postponed  Business TodayYou may get some more time to file your income tax returns in the current assessment year. The regular deadline of July 31 is expected to be pushed back this ...
Tax optimiser: Salaried Chaddha can save over Rs 71,000 in tax via NPS, perks  Economic TimesET Wealth tells readers how they can optimise their tax by rejigging their income and investments, like in this salaried taxpayer's case.
Remove double taxation on commodity trading: CPAI  BusinessLineSince CTT introduction in 2013, market volume has plunged 63%, says commodity association.
Brazil authorities put freeze on Neymar mansions amid tax dispute  MoneycontrolParis Saint-Germain striker Neymar's off-pitch woes continue to mount, as Brazilian tax authorities put a freeze on dozens of his mansions and other properties ...
How Silicon Valley Avoids Paying Taxes Using Small Biz Break  BloombergSilicon Valley has won big with a tax break aimed at small businesses.
How to make full use of section 80D to save tax on health insurance?  Economic TimesHealth insurance is a necessity that can also help you save taxes. Generally, you can save tax on health insurance premium for a maximum of Rs 1 lakh in case ...
Alberta Repealed Its Carbon Tax. What Now?  ForbesAlberta has repealed its controversial carbon tax, but that hasn't settled the issue of how the market should deal with the unwanted consequences of carbon ...
Madhya Pradesh govt to raise Rs 20,000 crore revenue without new tax  MoneycontrolBhanot said the government has taken certain decisions to raise the revenue without imposing any new tax.
High-Tax States Face an IRS Smackdown  The Motley FoolTax reform is a year and a half old now, but there's still plenty of argument about some of its more controversial provisions. One of the hardest-fought changes to ...
Lower Tax, Interest Rate, Healthcare: 10 Things India Wants Its New Fin Min to Address in Budget 2019  News18People, who commented on the online forum seeking suggestions for the budget, have wished that minimum exemption for income tax purposes be raised to Rs ...
Jaitley gives 2-month extension to CBDT task force on direct tax code; panel to now submit report by July 31  Business TodayIn a meeting held with top finance ministry officials, Arun Jaitley on Friday gave the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) task force an extension of two months ...
IOC, HPCL to contest over ₹4,000-crore tax demand  LivemintNew Delhi: Oil refiners Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) on Thursday said they will contest tax authorities demand for over ...
Low jet fuel taxes, expansion of airports seen boosting aviation sector  LivemintMUMBAI: India's aviation sector, one of the fastest growing in the world, will need a push from the new government to achieve its potential. Former diplomat ...
I-T summons Naresh Goyal in tax evasion case  Economic TimesThe case is related to alleged irregularities in dealings between Jet and Dubai-based cos.
How tax efficiency varies across states  LivemintStudy shows that some states are more efficient in generating tax revenues than others.
EU leader Tusk queried about tax policies as Polands PM  Business StandardLawmakers in Poland questioned EU Council president Donald Tusk on Monday for an investigation of tax evasion by private businesses that took place when ...
Opinion | Using the Singapore nudge in Indian tax law  LivemintMany years ago, on a vacation in Singapore, I was surprised to see the number of babies all over town. It looked like a baby boom in the city state. Cute, chubby ...
Tanzania row over wig and hair extension tax  BBC NewsA row has broken out in Tanzania over the government's decision to impose a tax on wigs and hair extensions. Many male and some female MPs applauded ...
Instead of locking in future tax cuts, we should increase Newstart and boost social housing  The GuardianNo one knows what will happen to the economy in three to five years. We need to own up to that fact and act accordingly.
Tax saving tips: Invest in real estate and save tax on LTCG  Business StandardInvestments in real estate are borne out of savings made out several years of earnings. These investments have both monetary value and emotional value for ...
Where does Colorado's marijuana tax money go? The state made a flow chart to answer the $1 billion question  The Colorado SunColorado officials announced Wednesday that marijuana tax revenue has now surpassed $1 billion since recreational sales began in 2014.
ESRI warns that carbon taxes 'often regressive in nature'  TheJournal.ieTHE ECONOMIC AND Social Research Institute (ESRI) has said the impact of introducing a carbon tax will strongly depend on the policy the government ...
Viewpoint | Here's why you should file your income tax returns in time  Moneycontrol.comDivya Baweja, Divya Agarwal and Pooja Verma. Filing of income tax returns (ITR) is around the corner and authorities have already released the necessary ...
Budget 2019: From income tax slab changes to 80C limit extension, 5 key things to expect from the upcoming Union Budget  The Financial ExpressFM Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to announce a number of big-ticket decisions in the Union Budget 2019 considering the thumping majority her party secured ...
Budget 2019: Slashing tax rates is a good way to boost collections; here’s why  The Financial ExpressUnion budget 2019 India: Hiking surcharges on higher income brackets tempting, but won't help as much as cutting rates to get more into tax net.
Cap personal income tax rate at 25 pc to boost demand: PHDCCI  Economic TimesNEW DELHI: The maximum personal income tax rate in the country should move towards 25 per cent to increase disposable income, thereby boosting demand ...
Industry seeks tax cuts, bold land, labour reforms from NDA  LivemintIndustry executives on Monday sought tax cuts, lower interest rates and bold reforms in land acquisition and labour laws in a blueprint prepared to aid the Modi ...
France Wants to Cut $1.1 Billion of Tax Breaks for Companies  BloombergFrance plans to eliminate tax benefits for companies worth one billion euros ($1.12 billion) from next year to help finance a pledged reduction in personal ...
Digital economy taxation: OECD’s roadmap and implications for India  Economic TimesBy Ajay Rotti In today's world, with technology seeping into virtually every section of the economy, the 'digital economy' is becoming intertwined with the ...
Withdrawing Rs 10 lakh a year may attract 3-5% tax: Finance Ministry  India TodayWithdrawing a cumulative Rs 10 lakh a year can attract 3-5 per cent tax if a proposal going around in the Finance Ministry takes shape in the Budget to track high ...
Brazil to let ethanol sector raise capital using tax free notes  ReutersThe Brazilian government will allow companies in the sugar and ethanol sector to raise capital for investments through the issuance of notes that are exempt ...
New York Can Tell Congress Lots About Trump’s Taxes  The New York TimesHis state returns will give the House a glimpse of past I.R.S. audits, before and after he entered the Oval Office.
Tax structure a reason for Jet Airways fall: Ajay Singh, SpiceJet chairman  Economic TimesSpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh has replaced Jet Airways' Naresh Goyal on the board of governors at IATA — an achievement, considering his carrier joined the ...
Coalition's tax plan would benefit men almost twice as much as women, analysis finds  The GuardianThe Coalition's plan to flatten tax brackets for middle to high income earners will provide twice as much benefit to men than women, a new analysis has found.
G20 countries agree to close tax loopholes for tech companies  EngadgetTech giants are already finding themselves on the hook for more taxes in parts of Europe, but there could now be a much more coordinated effort to have them ...
Here’s how to comply with new rules on keeping digital tax records  The SunTENS of thousands of British businesses could find themselves in trouble with the taxman by failing to follow new rules on keeping digital records. More than one ...
Most millionaires support a tax on wealth above $50 million, CNBC survey says  CNBCA majority of millionaires support Sen. Elizabeth Warren's proposed tax on large wealth, according to the CNBC Millionaire survey.
No taxes owed by GMR from $270-million arbitration award: Maldives  LivemintThe Maldivian government in 2017 had slapped a notice seeking $20.5 million.The arbitration ruling indemnified the Indian developer from any tax liabilities.
Martin Feldstein, economist who nudged Ronald Reagan to raise taxes, dies  Business StandardMartin Feldstein, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers who successfully persuaded President Ronald Reagan to cut budget deficits by ...
Bring down corporate tax to 18 pc sans exemptions: CII  Economic TimesCII wants the govt to bring down the corp tax rate to 18 per cent along with elimination of all exemptions.
Only one month left for filing taxes online  The Brussels TimesThe countdown has begun: taxpayers have only one month before the deadline for online filing on Tax-on-web expires on 11 July, the Finance Department ...
ITR filing: Don't make these mistakes to avoid getting tax notice  Economic TimesFind out what you should do to avoid getting a notice for small errors on income tax returns.
Evers: Barnes should pay any delinquent taxes  Star TribuneGov. Tony Evers says if Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes owes taxes he should pay them.
New York Offers Up Trump's State Tax Returns—But One Lawmaker Stands in the Way  BloombergHouse Democrats clamoring for Donald Trump's tax information have eagerly awaited a newly passed New York law allowing limited access to the president's ...
How to quadruple the number of tax payers in India  Business StandardIndia's tax to GDP ratio is around 12 per cent currently. It used to be around 10 per cent till recently. Most people think even this 12 per cent is too low and that it ...
A Former Business Partner Alleges the Trumps Evaded Taxes in Panama  The New York TimesThe owners of a luxury hotel in Panama City that ousted the Trump Organization as property managers last year accused it on Monday of evading taxes in ...
Big businesses paying even less than expected under GOP tax law  POLITICOFederal tax payments by big businesses are falling much faster than anticipated in the wake of Republicans' tax cuts, providing ammunition to Democrats who ...
IT industry, startups meet Anurag Thakur to discuss data protection, tax issues  YourStoryAhead of the Budget, representatives of tech sector and industry bodies like Nasscom, IAMAI, and MAIT met Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on ...
Got a tax notice? Here’s what you should do  Economic TimesMistakes while filing ITR can fetch you a tax notice. Here's how you can respond to such tax notices.
How to report tax-exempt incomes in ITR-1  Economic TimesThis year in ITR-1, tax-exempt incomes have to be reported in the tab, 'Computation of income and tax'.
California considers adopting part of Trump's tax law  CBS NewsThe state is looking to expand the state's earned income tax credit.
Boris Johnson’s proposed income tax cut for those earning over £50,000 is a stinker for the average Brit  The SunBORIS Johnson's first big policy announcement is a stinker. We're all for tax cuts . . . Tories should be tax cutters, above all. But what possessed Boris to think his ...
G-20 update: Urgent push for digital taxes faces hurdles  The Financial ExpressThe G-20 finance group has gathered annually since 1999, with Japan taking presidency for the June 8-9 gathering.
Budget 2019: Tax officials likely to seek up to Rs 1.5 lakh crore reduction in collection target  India TodayOfficials from the tax department are likely to ask the finance ministry for a reduction in the tax collection target up to 6 per cent, translating to Rs 1.5 lakh crore, ...

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