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3 Easy Steps to Stay Organized During Tax Season

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2021

Learn how you can gather all your paperwork, track what you need, and keep it all organized so you can do your taxes with less stress!

 

Taxes. Yikes! They’re never fun to complete, right?

You can find yourself persevering throughout the process—until you realize that you don’t have some of the paperwork ready. (Those moments make us feel even worse!)

You see, how you gather and track all your paperwork can either make your process go smoothly OR fall apart!

So how do you keep track of all your paperwork during tax season without stressing yourself out too much?

By knowing the 3 Steps of Tax Season Organization! If you want to know more, keep reading.

Who knows? Once you start applying these steps, it might also give you a breath of fresh air (Like it did to me!)

There are 3 FOUNDATIONS in making tax time easy:

  1. FOUNDATION 1: Taking Your Brain Out of the System

                           How a Checklist Can Help Lessen Your Stress During Tax Season

  1. FOUNDATION 2: Making All Information Clear 

                           Why Clarity Is Important

  1. FOUNDATION 3: Knowing that Temporary is Good

                           Do You Need to Be Vigilant with Your Tax Papers All Year?

 

FOUNDATION 1: Taking Your Brain OUT of The System

How a Checklist Can Lessen Your Stress During Tax Season

The first step during tax season is to take your brain out of the system.

This means making your decisions AHEAD OF TIME. Setting up your system AHEAD OF TIME.

So when you're in the thick of it, you don't need to even remember what exactly you need. You've got a system—all you need is to follow it!

(My Paper Path Members know how essential this first step is because I keep emphasizing it in the courses!)

Taking your brain out of the system will eliminate all of that anxiety, procrastination, and overwhelm by having all of those decisions made and recorded. You're never going to question what you need to do!

Let’s create a system that makes everything clear for you will curb out all of that stress and overwhelm.

My favorite, favorite, favorite way to do this is to...

Create a Checklist for ALL Tax Paperwork 

Having a checklist for every paperwork you gather and need during tax season can make a HUGE difference.

It saves you time and frustration from not knowing what you’ve already gathered and what you still need. It just makes everything EASIER!

But how do you create one?

If you are a Pathfinder, there’s good news. You’ll get the first draft of the Tax Organizing Worksheet template I created for you!

But if you’re NOT a Pathfinder, you can definitely create a checklist on your own (OR you can join the Paper Path, get your own Tax Organizing Worksheet template, and make it even easier for yourself!)

So how does this checklist work?

Just make a list of what you need, gather what you can, track your documents, and if you have one, go over it with your CPA (Your CPA would probably love to help make sure that you don’t miss out on anything). 

Each year, I print out a blank worksheet and use it until I complete it for that year’s taxes. But of course, we’re free to adapt our worksheets and update them as much as we need to every year!

During tax season, having the same type of worksheet that you can use year after year is the most peaceful feeling that you will ever have. 

So make sure to have one! This is one great way to take your brain out of the system.

Besides, your brain is NOT meant to store all that information. Free up some space!

 

FOUNDATION 2: Making All Information Clear

Why Clarity Is Important

Once you’ve set up your own tax worksheet, you want to make sure that everything is super clear. It can be overwhelming if you’re not sure what the right decision is or what decisions you’ve made in the past. You might end up having papers in two places and that can be stressful.

The clearer you can organize your papers, the better.

3 Tips to Make Tax Organization Easier for Your Future Self 

  • Use Post-It Notes: Writing notes to yourself on these forms can be very helpful because you can remember what you were thinking that time—instead of wondering why in the world you kept something.
  • Highlight on Papers: Something that I often do is highlight titles of pages and other necessary information to make it easier for my eyes to scan over a bunch of papers. Just make sure NOT to highlight text on receipts because the ink might disappear!
  • Write Numbers: This is a great way to make references on your tax worksheet. Just add a number on papers when you need them for reference. That way, if you hand them off to your CPA, you can simply refer to a number and they’ll also know what you’re talking about if you add the number on your notes. Easy peasy!

 

FOUNDATION 3: Knowing that Temporary is Good

Temporary Tax Systems: Do You Need to Be Vigilant All Year?

Keep in mind that temporary is GOOD.

We don’t need massive structures and file systems set up throughout the year for taxes!

We only get into tax time in-depth for about a month or two every year, so it’s okay to have a temporary system.

What You Should do with Your System After Tax Season

Feel free to set up some temporary systems that are a little bit more organized and detailed.

BUT after tax time, you can ditch the temporary system that's sitting out and use those broad categories instead. 

So no need to make sure to keep super vigilant all the time. 

Temporary is GOOD.

So just to recap, during tax season:

  1. Take your brain out of the system by creating a tax worksheet.
  2. Make it clear. Write down what your decisions are for your future self. Write notes, highlight, or add numbers so you can easily refer back to papers and know exactly what they were about. 
  3. Set up a temporary system that might be a little bit more detailed—but then get rid of it when you're done with tax season.

So that is it!

I hope you’re able to implement some of these things to help you maintain your peace during tax season.

If you want a SHORTCUT to creating a tax worksheet…

You can join the other lovely Pathfinders in the Paper Path membership!

Once you become a member, I will give you access to your very own Tax Organizing Worksheet that you can use as a template right off the bat. I’ll be improving that worksheet and make sure it works for us, so join now to grab your template!

Click here to check it out.

 

Suzanna Kaye



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