January just ended and if you are like most people, you are going through the teeth gnashing experience of preparing your taxes. In previous years, maybe those little deductions weren’t all that important, but boy don’t you wish you had kept better track for this year? Now is the time with only one month into it to make it easier on yourself for year end 2009.
First, in my opinion, there is no substitute for a great CPA. Some one who is a friend and not a robot, someone you can tell your dreams to and share with. I am learning more and more each day the value and satisfaction of someone I can trust and shoots me an email when he thinks I should know something. His name is Tom Hicks and we call him “Father Tom” so you get the idea the type of person he is. His blogpost is a great one for you to peruse, it can help make your preparation easier. It is all about figuring out where to start!
I have a couple of my own tips to prepare me for the year ahead.
- I went to an office supply store and bought an accordion file that lists the months on each tab. I didn’t go on the cheap (tho what I bought was something like $13.99) and buy one that has only 6 tabs, buy one that has at 12 – 15 tabs. Mark the months on them yourself if you cannot find one with them marked all ready.
- I Put the file next to my desk. I am throwing everything into that month for receipts as I get them. With this year being especially odd, new promises for change (who knows what that means at this point) – include gas receipts, meal receipts, car repair receipts. Keep them all together. If you are self employed or a small business, this is especially important. You don’t want to lose a legitimate deduction, just because you forgot about it.
- Easy online file sharing that is SAFE and SECURE! myclientvault.com is like a file cabinet with a user name and password for all your tax documents. If your CPA doesnt use it, it is a very economical way to store pdf files and very easy to use. Once you go there, you will see a video how to use it. It is great for the nights you wake up at 3 in the morning and you need access to a file you cannot find at home.
You could go to Turbo Tax or some other online service to file and I have to say, these services don’t impress me. Call me old fashioned, but I am going to just load up all my personal information and ship it off to someone I don’t know and it is nearly impossible to reach a live person if you have a question. Tactically, it seems to solve a problem of filing THIS year, but it is difficult to do any long range planning. I also found this interesting link of a security compromise in the Turbo Tax soft ware. How would you like other people looking at your stuff and you can look at theirs? You are a hacker and you didn’t even know it!
And what about a more timely one of Giethner the new Treasury Secretary blaming Turbo Tax for his tax issues. If he can’t figure out what Turbo Tax is doing, I surely can’t! There is no substitute for real people.
Thank you Staples.com for the image.