Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Income Tax Checklist Printable

Here we are, smack dab into the middle of next week already. Last week, I said I would have a tax checklist for you...LAST WEEK! I do apologize for not providing it. I had something come up at my day job that took precedence.

Let's take a detour first and talk about recent Google searches:

"bloglovin" (this is my favorite way to read my favorite blogs)
"geocaching" (sounds intriguing, I'm researching further)
"home decorators collection shoe bench" (possible addition to the master closet)
"what does the star mean in the elevator shaft" (tiny tower question)
"are cocoa pebbles gluten free" (yes)
"best books for 12 year old boys" (for a friend)

What have you researched lately?

Back on track with this tax printable. Since I did not deliver when initially promised, I am going to give this printable to you for FREE. Download it HERE, and then continue reading for tips on how to use the checklist and organize your tax paperwork.

Let's talk about taxes and paper organization for a minute. We can't do much about what you did last year, so for now, separate all of your papers into the categories on first page of the checklist. Paperclip each section together, place a sticky note on the front of the package, title it, and place a dollar value if applicable (i.e., total medical expense amount). This may take awhile if you didn't keep things organized last year, so don't be discouraged if you don't get it all done in one night. AND! Leave yourself plenty of time between now and April 15th to complete this project. No procrastinating!

Since it is still early in the year, you can get your paperwork in order now so that taxes next year will be a breeze. I keep one filing box in my desk for my tax files. When the year is over, the files are removed and replaced with new files for the next year.

I have a desk that has hanging file folders. With regard to taxes, I keep one each of the following files in this drawer:

Taxes. I keep the previous year's tax prep file here. I move the year before to storage in the garage.

Income. Any 1099s or W-2s, job search expenses (clothing, mileage, food purchases, etc.), job related moving expenses, etc. all go in this file.

Dependent #1. I name a file for each of my children. I keep anything not medically related in this file. Extra curricular expenses, educational expenses, childcare expenses, etc.

Dependent #2 and Dependent #3. ^^^SAME

Medical. I file all medical expenses here. Receipts for prescriptions, mileage reports, bills for doctor visits, etc.

Vehicles. Anything related to the cars go here. DMV receipt for registration, receipts for repairs, gas receipts, etc.

Household. File household improvement items here. Receipts, invoices, etc.

Home Documents. Property tax bills, mortgage statements, insurance policy, etc.

Pets. Vet bills, mileage reports, etc.

Donations. Keep receipts for donations, that slip Goodwill gives you when you do a drop off (ask for one if they do not offer), etc.

When I receive a bill, I pay it, then write on the portion of the bill I keep for my records:

"Paid 01.01.14
Check #123
Mailed 01.02.14"

Staple anything that goes together so you don't accidentally add the same expense twice. Now I can easily reference the amounts when I am adding my like categories together.

Speak with a tax professional to find out what income, adjustments, and deductions are appropriate for you.

Now, when tax time comes around, I pull out each folder, paperclip everything together, put a sticky note on the front that says the category and the total:


Stack everything together, answer the (lengthy, but trust me, useful for your accountant) questionnaire, and slap the checklist and the questionnaire on top of your paperwork, rubberband together, and you are ALL SET! Easy peasy.

Happy Tax Return Organizing!

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