Today is April 15th. Well known in our country for tax day. By now, your taxes are done and you are relaxed. However, if they are not done, this year you have a weekend extension. Due a Washington DC holiday which falls on Saturday, you have until Monday April 18th to file. So those procrastinators out there get a couple of extra days.
What if you have filed? Should you rest and relax? Not yet! Studies show that the average tax payer takes 16 hours to gather information before income tax forms can be prepared. So while the time and energy you used to get organized is still in your mind, set aside two or three hours this weekend.
Then, use this time to review your filing system and checkbook to see where you can simplify for next year. You may want to start by gathering your tax deductible information from January 1st to March 31st of this year. Then consider these tips:
Use one checkbook and one credit card for all tax deductible expenses. These include real estate taxes, medical expenses and charitable deductions. Then, when time comes to total the numbers from 2016, everything is in one place.
Make all your charitable donations in a designated month, say November. Gather all solicitations and requests in a folder and review at that time. No more wondering if you already gave, your donations are recorded and predictable. Knowing how much you have to give and giving it all at once, assures you have a plan and are more conscious in your giving.
Set up a financial filing system. You want to do this in hard copy and on your computer to make it easier to access the information when you need it next year. No need to recreate the wheel each time. When tax documents show up, you want to have a designated place to put them. No more digging or calling for copies of documents misplaced.
Time is money. Take the time now to save money and even more time in the long run.