This post is part of the TaxACT #BeatTheDeadline blog tour which shares tips on how to make tax time a smooth and easy process before the April 15 deadline. TaxACT provides the tools and guidance to help you confidently file taxes easy and fast. Do your own taxes today at TaxACT. You got this.
I’ve used lots of tools to make tax filing easier. From software packages to online programs, I’ve helped clients in the past make sure they pay their fair share of flesh to the government. I love estimating taxes, setting money aside automatically for quarterly payments….I’m a huge fan of scanners and creating folders to hold all of your documents on your computer for easy retrieval when you need them. Collectively, I’ve used several dozen solutions to make tax filling a breeze. Well, maybe not a “breeze” but certainly not the horrible beast some people report.
…but none of those are my favorite solutions.
Want to know mine? It’s the least-tech solution you’ll ever hear, and once we implemented it, tax time went much more smoothly. Trust me. This is so low tech that you’ll be disappointed when you read it.
My favorite? We place a basket by the front door.
I told you it’d be a let down. But wait….there’s more.
Cheryl and I are busy people. My parents are visiting this week and my mom always remarks at least twenty times that we’re constantly in motion. It’s true. We’re not going to sit in one place for a length of time. Sometimes it bothers me. After dinner at a restaurant sometimes I just want to sit and enjoy the ambiance and Cheryl’s ready to get on to the next activity. Then again, other day’s I’m the instigator. We’re a good team.
The basket helps us work our system so that we can keep moving quickly.
We have a system for bills and for awhile, our taxes were beating this system. We’d lose tax documents because while paying bills or looking through investment statements we’d set the tax documents aside. We had a system to input our tax data that I was pretty happy with. It goes like this:
Add to online folder so I can retrieve from anywhere
Add subfolders based on a) people and b) activities
It’s really simple. No need for complexity if simple works, right?
My problem? Getting to step one. I’d lose the damned document before I could get to the system.
Enter the basket by the door.
Now, while we sort out bills, we also sort out tax documents, which go in a separate folder. It isn’t more work for very long. Tax documents only come between the last week of December and the end of March. We’ve easily been able to add in this little (very little) “system” for twelve weeks.
The Big Point
This simple basket (it’s just an old one we had in a cupboard used at any other time to serve rolls with Sunday dinner) solved a big problem. My taxes weren’t getting done. What simple solution can solve your problem?
Whether it’s doing your taxes or getting home improvements finished, everything works better when you focus on the process instead of the outcome. If I work on “this year’s taxes” I may have issues next year. If I create streamlined solutions to get my taxes finished efficiently so I can spend my time doing countless things that are more fun than taxes…..I’ll look at the system and improve it.
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