Organizing pays off at tax time!

jamie_mtApril 16, 2009

I thought of this forum as I was doing my taxes Tuesday night, and thought I'd share a quick tip.

Last fall, my husband and I did a huge closet clean-out, mine first, then his. And having gone through the tax deduction software the year before realizing I needed better records, I made a point of recording how many of each type of clothes, shoes, and handbags we donated to goodwill. I kept track in my PDA, but paper will work if you don't lose it...

This made it really easy to get the acceptable amounts for each type of clothing from the online software "Its Deductible", and transfer that to our tax software forms. In the end, I had $900 worth of deductions from that closet clean-out!

Maybe most people already do this, but it was a first for me...and made it much easier than trying to "estimate" the worth of my donated items (my deduction was much higher than if I'd "guessed" at it). Just thought I'd share in case anyone else could find it useful for next year.

*Disclaimer: I don't have any affiliation to the software mentioned, aside from having used it this year.

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ronbre

we gave an entire semi truck load of stuff last year to habitat for humanity restore and I told my husband to get a receipt..did he..nope..so we had nothing to show for a semi truck load of stuff..no receipt..no can claim.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 9:07AM
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alisande

Jamie, you were doing your taxes the night before the deadline? ;-)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 11:20AM
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bspofford

"Jamie, you were doing your taxes the night before the deadline? ;-)"

What? You mean you can do them before that?!?!? LOL

I too usually have left it until the last minute. I remember days when I was driving 20 miles to the closest open post office to get it postmarked before midnight on the 15th. I'm much better now, I take all the papers that have piled up, sort them into broad categories or toss, and then do my taxes using Turbo Tax. And, e-file eliminates that 10 pm drive.....

One of the things that has saved me the most time at tax time is the records I have for each payee on my online bill pay program. I can simply go to each account, such as health care providers, real estate taxes, etc. and add up all the payments. I don't have to dig through old checkbooks that way.

Barbara

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 12:25PM
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talley_sue_nyc

I create an envelope at the beginning of every fiscal year, and every time I donate something, I ask for a paper statement, and write down most of what it is. I don't actually get *that* terribly detailed, I think partly bcs I don't personally feel that entitled to the charitable deduction.

But sticking that info in that envelope as soon as I get it helps TREMENDOUSLY in February when we take it all to the accountant.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:00PM
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claire44

Organizing is so important when it comes to tax stuff. I thought I was ready for taxes season was I wrong. When I arrived at the account I found alot of mistakes in my books. So back to the filed paper work. I had to do everything all over and miss the April 15th deadline. Organize people, just get organized and stay that way!
I'm talking to myself also.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 8:14PM
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jamie_mt

I disappear for awhile, come back and this is still on the front page. Wow! Slow moving post. :-)

I used to get my taxes done early - like February. But then we started having to *pay in*, and really, who's in a hurry to do that? I sold Avon for awhile too, and that seriously made taxes a nightmare, since I'm a horrible bookkeeper.

Next year will be different though. I quit Avon awhile ago, so no more business stuff to worry about. And hubby is switching jobs this summer to a far lower salary (for stability, his company was bought, and seems to be in the process of dismantling itself), so we'll be in a lower tax bracket - less taxes owed. I dare say I'll have our taxes done in Feb. next year, since we shouldn't owe anything for the first time in years (or not as much, anyways)!

Funny how that works...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 1:46PM
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