Getting IT Together…Tax Season Woes

Ok, it is rapidly approaching, like it or not. After the calendar rolls over, it rears its head. Tax season. Gah. The dreaded Saturday(s) of sorting, searching, sifting, and stapling. If you are lucky, your tax prep god or goddess gives you a worksheet to reference during this process. But, with or without that, what if we could make this day a little simpler by preparing for it all year long? Here’s my plan.  

I am old enough to have received ALL of my bills on paper (in the mailbox!) at one point in my life. And, in the spirit of the “modern” world, I have also opted to receive them ALL in electronic format. Frankly, I prefer the former and have trended my way back that direction. For me, it is simpler to open an envelope, deal with its innards and file them appropriately than it is for me to remember to save that email and *maybe* get it stored away electronically. Yes, I am actively involved in deforestation…I at least pay them online!

So, now I have a pile of papers. Sorta. I actually have a lovely filing cabinet with hanging folders, in alphabetical order, with the nifty little plastic labels.   here is a section for house bills and another for investments and another for random stuff.  And when the planets align, into the correct folder goes the paper! (I dream of doing this on a weekly basis – operative word here is dream). I know, it seems silly to describe this in so much detail – because actually, it is simple. But, truly, I still don’t enjoy it, even if it IS organized.    

Until the new year, that is. And what happens then? I get to buy some cheap manila folders and a folder storage box (plastic holds up better – to be continued). I sit myself down with a Sharpie marker and a glass o’ wine/coffee/scotch/beer/chocolate milk/whatever. Here is the pattern – label the new folder to match the folder in the drawer and place last year’s contents in it and voila, into the box. As I move through the folders, I determine what pieces I need to keep out for tax purposes and put them into their own folder.  

And suddenly, it’s done. Yep, done.  I have my nifty folder of stuff for the tax person and a handy box of last year’s paperwork. With those plastic folder boxes, they may even hold more than one year’s worth of stuff. Which means you can continue to use them over and over. Then, every year,  I can purge the stuff from 8 calendar years ago (aka dumping 2008 now).

If I can find it, it is easier to shred that STUFF (you know what I really want to say). And, if someone can help me be more electronic then I will provide the wine/coffee/scotch/beer/chocolate milk/whatever.

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