Filing and Organization Tips
it's the end of another year and it's time to start
thinking about starting fresh in 2005! It is also a
good time to start planning and organizing for your
2004 tax returns instead of waiting until the deadline
this coming April. Filing taxes is a yearly ritual we
all dread, so I put together some tax filing tips
to help make it as painless as possible.
first and most important step is organizing your tax
files. I found that this helped me the most when
it came to filing for my taxes. I purchased one of those
A-Z, 1-10 accordion type organizers that has
the lid and a strap on the top. Throughout the year,
I put tax related documents in the folder. It doesn't
take a ton of time to organize throughout the year.
Some tax related documents I didn't have the time to
even open, I just popped the envelope into my folder
to open when I was read to file!
categories to organize your tax documents during the
- These would be your W-2 forms, pay stubs, 1099 forms.
estate - Every year you should receive forms showing
tax assessments and interest paid on your mortgage.
Any receipts for home improvements should also be
filed away here.
bills - Any receipts and out of pocket expenses
loans - Keep these statements showing the interest
care - Whether you have a nanny or send your child
to day care, you can deduct some of these expenses.
- Any documentation or receipts related to cash &
and bank statements - Buying and selling stocks
in regular accounts have tax implications, as does
any interest earned, so filing these is away is critical.
now you have everything organized.
I have some tax tips to reduce your potential tax bill
and hopefully increase the size of your tax return.
Again, just like my organizer tips above, some of these
take just a little planning ahead of time.
a contribution to your IRA accounts. Depending
on your income level, contributions to a regular IRA
account are tax deductible. You have until the tax
filing deadline (April 15, 2005) to make the contribution
for the 2004 tax year.
up for a flexible spending account. These are
accounts that your employer may offer related to childcare
and medical expenses. Basically what happens is a
certain amount of your income is moved into this account
pretax. This lowers your taxable income! Research
the fine print of your plan carefully and understand
that any money that has not been used for that year,
up for your employer's 401k plan. Just as with
the flexible spending account for healthcare, the
contributions to these plans is pretax, which lowers
your taxable income. Not only are you saving for your
future and reducing your taxes, in many cases your
employer will match up to a certain percent of your
salary! If your employer matches dollar for dollar
up to 3% of your salary, you just gave yourself a
the tax advantages interest on your home
mortgage. The interest on your mortgage is tax
deductible. If you take out a home equity loan to
consolidate your bills, or fund a large purchase,
that interest is tax deductible.
know it's painful (it is for me!), but if you take a
little time to organize your documents and plan ahead
for the coming year, you will not only save money, but
save yourself from serious tax filing headaches!
procrastinate until April to think thinking about your
taxes. Think about them now, before the new year starts!
sites and resources help with your taxes:
Publication 17 - This is a pdf document (over
300 pages!) that contains basic information and explanations
to help you file your taxes.
Website - Believe it or not, their site is very
easy to use. Get and print your tax forms here.
& R Block - The largest tax return company
in the U.S. that will help prepare and file your returns.
They can also look at your previous tax returns to
see if you left any money on the table by paying to
much in taxes.
tax link list website - I've used this site many
times to find tax related web sites. If you can't
find it here, it probably doesn't exist!
can download and install TurboTax
Basic and follow their easy step by step tax filing
- Instead of using software, you can
calculate and file your taxes online! Prepare
and E-File Online. Fast Refunds. TaxBrain.Com