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:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

New York Times

Craft Distillers, Facing Lower Taxes, Invest in Themselves
New York Times
Small craft distillers across the country have been on a spending spree since the turn of the new year. St. George Spirits, in Alameda, Calif., recently invested in more efficient pumps, new lab equipment and an automated bottling line. House Spirits ...

and more »

Entrepreneur

The new tax law gives rental property owners some breaks — and one important negative change
MarketWatch
As under prior law, you can still deduct mortgage interest and state and local real estate taxes on rental properties. While the TCJA imposes new limitations on deducting personal residence mortgage interest and state and local taxes (including ...
Finally, the Feds Are Cutting Startups Some Slack: Why the New Tax Law Is a Game-ChangerEntrepreneur

all 6 news articles »

CNNMoney

Social Security, Medicare and taxes are on the mind of Arizona's senior voters
CNNMoney
They fear the more than trillion-dollar deficits that Trump's tax bill is expected to create over the next 10 years will mean cuts to entitlement spending -- particularly Social Security and Medicare -- and they want a candidate who will protect those ...
Arizona Votes Home PageArizona.Vote

all 24 news articles »

The Denver Post

Colorado Supreme Court upholds legality of taxes for special districts, like RTD
The Denver Post
The Colorado Supreme Court has upheld the legality of sales taxes that are collected by two special districts in metropolitan Denver. Monday's ruling came in a lawsuit filed by a taxpayer advocacy group in 2013. It sued the Regional Transportation ...
Colorado Supreme Court upholds tax hike for transit, cultureThe Sun Herald

all 3 news articles »

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Which local community pays the highest taxes? It might surprise you
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
ALBANY -- Small villages in Orleans County paid the highest effective property tax rate in the region, a report Monday found. With relatively high property taxes and low home values, the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway paid about $57 per $1,000 of home ...

and more »

USA TODAY

Online stores need to pay taxes, too: Readers on an Internet sales tax
USA TODAY
States need the income, and it's not fair that brick-and-mortar stores (which already bear the costs of huge overheads) should also be the only ones who must be less competitive because others do not charge sales tax. I think it's so wrong for a ...


Sacramento Bee

Soda, oil companies back initiative to limit taxes in California
Sacramento Bee
Business groups are prepared to spend tens of millions of dollars this year on a California initiative that would make it more difficult to raise state and local taxes. The proposal, which is currently gathering signatures for the November ballot ...
California's candidates for governor don't talk about taxes much ...Los Angeles Times
Will $12 billion tax bite drive rich from California?CALmatters

all 4 news articles »

Tax Foundation

Should Bottled Spring Water Be Subject to Excise Taxes?
Tax Foundation
At the end of February, a bill (HB 5656) was introduced in the Michigan House to subject spring water bottlers to an excise tax of 4 percent of the wholesale price of the water they bottled. This same time last year, a bill in Maine (HP 0356) proposed ...


NEWS10 ABC

FCC: New York 'deceiving consumers' over 911 taxes
NEWS10 ABC
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The list of taxes that appear on landline and cell phone bills seems to grow every month. But one line that's appeared consistently for nearly a decade is the 911 service fee or surcharge. That tax is intended to be collected by ...

and more »

Minnesota Public Radio News

Did the new tax law cut your taxes? You might be surprised ...
Minnesota Public Radio News
Minnesota tax preparers warn many people could get some bad news at tax time next year if they don't find out now how the new Republican tax law changes their tax obligation.
Did the new tax law cut your taxes? You might be surprisedSouthernminn.com
House GOP tax plan includes rate cutTwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
GOP tax bill includes small income tax rate cutKARE11.com

all 20 news articles »
Google News

Gambling Income and Expenses - Tax Requirements

Hit a big one? With more and more gambling establishments,... Read More

Access to E-records by Taxing Authorities: A Case for Pakistan (Part II)

All tax authorities to e-commerce transactions should investigate the record... Read More

Slash Tax when Buying a Business

When buying a business, how the "purchase price" is made... Read More

Small Business Tax Issues for Self-Employed Individuals

The United States is a nation of entrepreneurs. There are... Read More

Save Money on Taxes - Double Your Income Now With Tax Saving Tips on Deductions

Adding Your First Additional Stream of IncomeMost new wealth builders... Read More

Furnishing Evidence in E-Tax Compliance

Self-assessment relies on taxpayers voluntarily meeting their tax obligations. This... Read More

What the Tax Software Companies Dont Want You to Know

Haven't done your taxes yet? No problem. Now there is... Read More

Some Folks Pay A Lot Less Tax Than Others On Very Same Income?Did You Pay Too Much Tax In 2004?

Someone once remarked, "Next to being shot at and missed,... Read More

Small Businesses Filing Amended Federal Tax Returns to Recover Money

Small Businesses Filing Amended Federal Tax Returns to... Read More

Seven Key Tax Deductions for the Self Employed

As a sole proprietor, it's wise to familiarize yourself with... Read More

Send Your Kids To Summer Camp and Write It Off

If you paid someone to care for a child so... Read More

Insider Guides to IRS Audits!

Ever wish that, as a business owner, you knew exactly... Read More

Failure To Pay Employment Taxes ? Penalties

As an employer, you must pay employment taxes if you... Read More

Tax Tips - Which Tax Form Is Right For Me?

IRS Tax forms can be confusing.Am I a 1099 or... Read More

Anticipating Your IRS Refund Can Cost You Plenty

While accountants are reaching for aspirin, millions of Americans are... Read More

Small Business Tax Deduction - Write-Off Bad Debts

Practically every small business has receivables that it cannot obtain... Read More

Tax Time Tune Up

Excerpted from the new book, "How to Do Space Age... Read More

IRS Statute of Limitations: Do Taxes Ever Expire?

Many Americans believe that an IRS debt is a debt... Read More

Fraudulent Tax Shelters ? KMPG Goes Down Hard

In the largest criminal tax case ever filed, KMPG has... Read More

Income Tax Returns Your Accountant Should Not File

You've been feeling uneasy (perhaps even guilty) because you've failed... Read More

Fiscal Deity: Tax Consultant

Strategic planning throughout the year results in a minimal tax... Read More

Tax Reduction Tips

In the rush to get tax returns prepared and filed... Read More

Take Control of Your Taxes

As everyone in the U.S. knows, we have just passed... Read More

Correspondence From The IRS ? Yikes!

It's a moment every person dreads. You pick up the... Read More

Requirements To Produce Tax Information (Whats Up With That?)

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate." ... Read More