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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Shoestring Living: Preparing for tax time

  • Here we are again; it’s time to prepare for that wonderful season – tax season! If you’re reading sarcasm through my words, you’re reading correctly. I readily admit that this is not my favorite time of year. The stress of tax prep is looming over me and will be there taunting me until I hunker down and get organized.

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  • Here we are again; it’s time to prepare for that wonderful season – tax season! If you’re reading sarcasm through my words, you’re reading correctly. I readily admit that this is not my favorite time of year. The stress of tax prep is looming over me and will be there taunting me until I hunker down and get organized.
    Whether you do your own taxes or use the services of an accountant, there are some basic steps that you can take throughout the year to ensure that next year’s prep is much less painful. Take a look at how I recommend staying on top of tax season all year long.
    You need a vessel
    Most families and small-business owners collect tax-related paperwork all year long. Make sure that you have some sort of vessel or catch-all that can accommodate this information as you receive it. Whether you have detailed file folders or sturdy boxes, place anything pertaining to your taxes into it throughout the year. When you need it, you’ll know exactly where to look.
    Use your computer
    Over the last several years, I’ve amassed some serious correspondence with my tax professional. Saving our emails and the notes I’ve taken from phone calls inevitably makes the next year easier on both of us and keeps our costly time together to a minimum. Just like you have a vessel for your tax paperwork, have a virtual vessel for your notes and emails. When it comes time to organize, open your virtual file first.
    Start early
    Tax time is not the time to procrastinate. I make it a goal each year to have all tax information to my accountant within the month of February. As soon as I receive all income-related info from the previous year, and can block off half a day or so, I get to work. Of course, you can always file for an extension if you get too close to the deadline, but why? If you’re one of the nearly 75 percent of American’s that receive a refund, it will be on its way sooner, rather than later. If you owe money, you’ll be armed with the knowledge of how much you need to pay and have some time to save.
    Molly Logan Anderson is a freelance writer who lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Mike, three kids and two labs. Join Molly on her family’s journey of living a frugal life and making financial freedom their reality in her columns or visit her website at www.mollylogananderson.com or on her blog at www.butterfliesandmudpies.blogspot.com.
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