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The Best Organizing Tips To Get Your IRS Tax Refund Faster

| January 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

n the words of Dave Barry, “It’s income tax time again…time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.”

Filing taxes = huge pain. We all know it. We all go through it once a year. And while there’s no way around tax season, there is a way to make the process less stressful – preparation.

A little bit of preparation can make a huge difference in your tax filing experience. Not only can it help you get your IRS tax refund faster if you qualify, but it can also help you avoid the high levels of stress normally associated with finishing your taxes.

If you’d love to come out the other end of tax season unscathed, then here are the best organizing tips to help you do just that. Think: T–A–X–E–S!

(1) Tally: Decide how many hours you need for tax prep.

First, choose a final date, such as “I want to be done with my taxes by April 1st.” Then work your timetable backwards from that date, planning around your work schedule, family responsibilities, and extracurriculars.

Second, think about how long it has taken you in the past to complete your taxes. If six hours of tax prep has been enough previously, then this year will likely be no different unless you had major changes in your life. So pencil in two hours on your calendar for three Saturdays between now and April 1st, or maybe one hour each Monday and Wednesday evening for the next three weeks.

(2) Assemble: Gather all tax-related documents.

Search your files, baskets, and bins. Your objective? To find any and all receipts, canceled checks, and other papers that support an item of income or deduction. Plus, be on the lookout for important tax forms like W-2s and 1099s in the mail.

Don’t forget about the charitable donations you’ve made over the last year! TurboTax ItsDeductible™ is a free software that tracks and adds your donations year-round and accurately determines the value of your donated items.

(3) X-cessorize: Compliment your tax prep efforts.

I’m not talking shoes and purses here! It’s all about storage. Now that you’ve got each and every one of your tax documents assembled, they must be organized in one central location, so as not to get lost.

There are lots of different tax organizers that can keep your tax papers in order. You can dress ‘em up in style with something like the Buttoned Up® Tax Filer. Or if you’re not into fancy-schmancy, then you can dress ‘em down with the oldie but goodie manila envelope.

(4) Evaluate: Assess how you want to file your return.

Will you prepare your return personally or will your accountant? Are you eligible for free help at an IRS office or volunteer site? Will you purchase tax prep software or e-file online?

There are many possibilities to consider! Weigh them all and find the option that best suits your needs. These variables may require modifications to your tally and time line. If so, refer back to #1.

(5) Schedule: Make a date to officially file your return.

If you’re doing your own taxes, make an appointment with yourself. If a tax rep is doing your taxes, promptly make an appointment with that individual. In either case, schedule asap – before the calendar fills up – and schedule a date several days ahead of the April 15th filing deadline, just in case a contingency comes up and you need more time to complete the filing process.

Remember: It’s never too early to start tax prep for next year! Looking ahead prevents a last-minute tax crunch and all the pressure that comes with it.

How do you get organized for tax season? I’d love to find out! Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and other comments below.

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Category: Organizing Tips

Carmen Coker

About the Author ()

Carmen Coker is a former U.S. Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Carmen is the creator of many popular organizing programs, including The Clutter Cleanse®, and her expertise has been exhibited through numerous international, national, and local media outlets, including "Real Simple" magazine. In addition, she is the founder of the International Association of Virtual Organizers, providing organizing professionals with resources to start, run, and grow their online business, and offers organizing and productivity products and services for both home and small business through www.CarmenCoker.com.

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Organizing’s Universal Law

"You attract into your life what you celebrate. If you celebrate simplicity, then simplicity will surround you. If you celebrate clutter, then clutter will surround you. One look at your life will tell you which one take precedence."

- Carmen [ …]

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