Taxes: How To SAVE SOME $$$ ...
Stop Stuffing Those Shoeboxes!
By Kristin Delfau, EA
Delfau Tax & Financial Services
Ah, the holidays are over, the snow is on the ground, so that must mean Ö yup, itís tax time, folks!
Many tax preparers thoroughly enjoy tax season - the adrenaline rush that comes with long days and doing what they do best. Still, you can make life easier for us and yourself.
If you want to help your tax preparer legally maximize your voice-over business deductions and take the best possible care of you and your tax return, here are some tips to help:
1. PREPARE YOUR RECORDS
Gather all of your documents before contacting your tax person or at least before your scheduled appointment.
It is tough for us to keep everything straight if we get a 1099 here, a mortgage interests statement there, expenses two weeks later, etc.
We also have to stop and start on your tax return more often - which takes more time and can cost you more money.
2. USE THE 'ORGANIZER'
Use a tax organizer. If your preparer doesnít provide you with one, you can get your own.
Tax organizers are great because they help save you money by jogging your memory about expenses youíve incurred but forgot to record.
It will also help your preparer go through your return faster - which can save you money!
If you need a tax organizer, just visit www.delfautax.com and click on the TAX HELP tab.
3. OPEN THE ENVELOPES
Open your tax documents and sort them. It is better to provide just the statements rather than giving us a bunch of unopened envelopes to sort out. (We donít want your Victoriaís Secret credit card statement!)
Also, it is good for you to have an idea of the numbers that will be on your tax return - for your own sake.
4. NO SHOEBOXES, PLEASE
Please donít bring us shoeboxes full of voice-over business deduction receipts to sort through on March 31.
We love you, but we will put you on extension and have to charge you for it. We will also have to charge you the additional time it takes to go through all of your paperwork.
Instead, put together an Excel sheet, use a program such as QuickBooks Simple Start, or simply write out your business expenses totaled by category.
If you are not sure if you can deduct a certain item, either ask us in advance or stick a Post-It on the receipt in question. We will let you know.
And donít forget your mileage!
5. IS EVERYTHING THERE?
If you have any questions or changes, let us know before we start your return or attach a note to your paperwork. This allows us approach your return with your complete tax picture in mind.
For example, if you think you might want to make a contribution to an IRA or a SEP-IRA for 2009, please let us know upfront.
We can help you best when you tell us all the details - and no one knows your life better than you!
6. FIND HELP NOW
If you are looking for a new tax preparer, start your search sooner rather than later.
Preparers willing to take on new clients will be able to spend a little extra time with you if you meet with them in February, rather than calling them on April 2.
Most preparers, after speaking with you and seeing your 2008 return, will be able to quote you a price estimate.
I wish you a wonderful tax season with many savings!
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ABOUT KRISTIN ...
Kristin Delfau is the president of Delfau Tax & Financial Services in Danbury, CT and the author of Turbo-Momís Guide to Saving Money Without Wasting Time (Aji, 2009; www.turbo-mom.com). She specializes in flat fee tax preparation and life insurance solutions for individuals.