Every year I promise to be more organized. I tell myself that I’ll start on my taxes sooner and I’ll have everything I need at my fingertips before April 15 rolls around.
While I can’t say I look forward to doing my taxes, I have to admit they are so much easier than they used to be. Gone are the days when I immersed myself in shoeboxes full of receipts and scoured IRS publications trying to figure out what I was doing. I remember hiring a babysitter on a Saturday afternoon in February each year so my husband and I could work on our taxes for a few hours. (To tell the truth, we spent most of the time arguing because neither one of us had done our part to prepare for our little tax retreat.) That was our routine every year…procrastinate…argue…scramble…and then try to forget.
But with each return we’ve filed, I’ve learned something new. And with each passing year, I’ve accumulated tools to help make tax time less stressful. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Evernote. If you’ve been around here a while, you’ve probably heard me sing the praises of Evernote. I’m fairly certain you can do everything you need with Evernote – possibly even file your return directly from the app somehow! But here’s how I use Evernote for taxes: I have a notebook containing tax information and documents. I share it with my husband as we prepare for taxes so we don’t duplicate efforts and we both know where we are in the process. We attach pertinent files to the notebook and save websites or screenshots directly in the file. We use the tagging feature to search easily for relevant notes we may have created throughout the year. It’s our “home base” for tax prep.
2. Mint. We use this app to manage our budget and monitor our accounts on a regular basis. What we just realized recently is that Mint allows you to download your data to a CSV file you can manipulate and use to collect tax information. It’s perfect for those of us who pay for certain tax-related expenses from multiple accounts. For example, if you pay some of your utilities via credit and other utilities via automated debit from your checking account, Mint enables you to easily calculate a total. [Read more…]