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Tax season is upon us (in case you have not noticed it yet.) I noticed it a long time ago, and not because I really enjoy this time of the year or find it fascinating. If anything, I find it cumbersome. Quite disturbing. Alarming. I pick a night to work on my taxes, I pour myself a glass of wine, settle in front of my computer and by the time I open my spreadsheets and glance over my tax forms, I want to give up on a glass of wine and look for the bottle. I feel like I am clawing my way out of the tax mess hour by hour, day by day. It is overwhelming.
I have to admit that my previous tax seasons were not as painful and time consuming as this one. This one is kicking my butt. Big time. I am trying to punch it’s face in return. So far very unsuccessfully. So I hate it. And it hates me back.
I created this mess myself. I made a lot of mistakes last year from shopping like a deranged shopaholic to not saving enough. But my greatest mistake is going to cost me some money this year.
Things I Did Wrong Preparing For the Tax Season:
- I did not gather all my receipts in one place. The receipts are scattered in all different places. It is taking me forever to search for them. I found most of them but one is still missing. The most important one – charitable donations.
- I did not reconcile my Paypal account last year. Not even once. Now I am sweating over it because numbers do not add up. This is the most time-consuming task of all. I did not keep a good record of my Paypal transactions last year. Now, I am spending hours going through my account, trying to reconcile and balance it. It is turning into a nightmare.
- I did not revisit my withholdings last year. Now I have to pay more in taxes. I hate this fact. Some people recommend minimizing withholdings in spite of the fact that it means paying up at tax time. The argument is that minimizing your withholdings gives you more money at your disposal. It is all good until you realize that savings account interest rates are at almost zero. I’d rather get a tax refund. But this is not happening this year.
- I did not organize my time enough, and I ended up working on my taxes sporadically, doing several things at the same time. I am exhausted. I like some sort of organization, some sort of schedule. I definitely like to establish a routine. When things don’t fit into my organized schedule or routine, it throws me off, and I stress.
I promised myself that for next tax season I am going to devise a much better system.
- Envelopes. I am going to have separate envelopes for all my receipts and tax forms I receive throughout the year. I will store them in one place.
- Better tax planning. I am going to revisit my withholdings and calculate (estimate) what needs to be done.
- Timely account reconciliation. I am going to reconcile my Paypal account on a consistent basis.
- Scheduling. Schedule my time to work on taxes not sporadically but systematically.
Let’s hope for the better (and more organized) tax season next year! How is your tax season going?