Lessons Learned: My Tax Process

Tax season is such a fun time of year—LOL. I am one who likes to get our taxes done as soon as possible. However, I am a procrastinator when it comes to the work involved, so I have created a process that’s evolved throughout the years. The annual process begins in January and may take over a month or two to complete. Here’s my process:

1. I gather the tax information forms that come in the mail and create a pile on the floor in my office. This gets the ball rolling.

2. In February, I decide that it’s time to go through the files in my cabinet. I go through each file and review all bills, receipts, and statements that I collected from the previous year. I make two piles. One is for me to recycle and the other is to shred. For the papers that I keep, I organize them by date and then place them in the tax pile on the floor. Just so you know, this is not one of my favorite tasks. Sometimes it takes one to three sittings to complete.

3. Now that I have my pile of required papers, they stay on the floor for a week or so until I realize that they’re not going to move without my help. So what do I do? I sit down and separate the documents into two piles that take up more space. One pile is for the records to keep on file and the other is for records needed to complete the tax forms.

4. Now I have to purchase the software program so between me and my husband, we find the best price and buy it. I do not download the software directly to our computer. I like getting the disc. Crazy, I know, but I just need to see the physical form of it. The software, once it arrives, sits on my file cabinet for a few days in its pretty little box.

5. I then wait. I know I need to get my taxes done. I see the piles and the software as a reminder. Yes, I’ll get to it later.

6. Finally I decide that it’s time to open the box and load the software to my computer. I also load in last year’s information since I don’t keep it on the computer. Enough for one day.

7. In the meantime, other tax piles start to accumulate on my office floor. I help three other family members do their taxes. I guess I should get started and work on the hardest one first.

8. I start by looking at my business expenses. I gather the information, compile what I need into my own type of general ledger, and then put it back on the floor. Okay, okay. It’s a start.

9. Next I enter the business information into the tax program. Since that’s done, I might as well work on the income section. I get that finished and decide it’s time for a break.

10. Two days later, I’ll work on the deductions. Our Federal return is complete. Now on to the States – I have to complete two returns. If I do one, I might as well work on the other. With both done, I can print. I’ll then compile the tax forms for me and my husband to sign. Our taxes are done. Yay!

11. But wait. I still have three more sets to do. I’ll get there.

Happy Tax Season!

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