Tax season can be Easier with Evernote
Taxes, Taxes, Taxes! Every year we sit down and pay Uncle Sam his fair share of our earnings. We gather all our receipts, mortgage statements, bank statements, 1099’s, W-2’s, and any other tax related paperwork we have received, and try to organize all the paperwork. Up until two years ago, I kept all my receipts and other paperwork in a shoe box, labeled “Dreaded Taxes”. Any time I received a receipt I needed for tax time, I would open the shoe box, quickly throw it in there, then close the lid, ignoring the fact that I was creating more work for myself later. But, I didn’t have to think about organizing anything for tax time, at least not at that moment.
It worked great until it was time to organize all the little receipts and paperwork for my accountant. Once a year I would shut my office door, and hang a do not disturb sign, turn off the phones and try to make heads or tails of the mess. Every year I stressed over the inevitable tax time and hated every minute of it; until I discovered Evernote!
Now, instead of throwing receipts into the “Dreaded Taxes” shoe box, I take a picture of the receipt as soon as I receive it, label it appropriately and forget it. When tax time comes around everything is organized and ready for my accountant immediately because I have been organizing my information all year long. Once I started using Evernote to collect everything, tax time became less stressful, and my do not disturb sign went in the trash! Here’s how I organize all the details for my taxes in Evernote.
Your tax situation will be different than mine, so make sure to talk to your tax preparer or accountant about what documents you need to collect for taxes, along with what format they want them in.
Organizing the details
You’ll need notebooks for all your tax-related documents, and you’ll want to organized them by year. Create two notebooks, one for each year’s taxes and another for each year’s expenses.
- 2016 Taxes
- 2016 Expenses
Within each notebook, you’ll collect all documents, receipts, bills and statements you’ve received over the year. You can drag, email or use Evernote on your mobile device to scan in paper documents. The first time you start using Evernote to organize your taxes, it will be a little time consuming to drag, scan, and email everything. However, once you have this system in place and place documents daily into Evernote throughout the year, next year’s tax season will be a breeze.
What information goes where?
In the taxes notebook, you’ll want to place tax-specific documents like W-2s, 1098’s, 1099’s, donation receipts, end-of-year credit card summary statements, etc.. Create each as a single note, and title it with the tax year and the name of the document—for instance “2016 – 1099 name of company” or “2016 – W-2.” If you need to add detailed information, just type in a comment at the top of the note and be sure to highlight it to catch your attention.
In the expenses notebook, I scan in my daily receipts that are tax deductible, such as office supplies, gas, meal expenses, etc. I have 12 sub-notebooks within this one notebook labeled January – December, and I place all recipes in the appropriate sub-notebook. I also, label each receipt accordingly, such as “Jan2016 gas”, or “Jan2016, meal expense”. You get the picture.
I have created shortcuts for my taxes and expenses notebooks so I have readily access to them when needed.
When you’re ready to turn over your tax information to your accountant all you have to do is click the share button to invite your accountant to the notebook, and they’ll have access to all the information they need to prepare your taxes without you having to send files via email.
Keep all Tax information
You did it! You got organized, prepared your taxes, or had someone else do it for you, and either received a refund, J or had to Pay uncle Sam L. The last thing you need to do for 2016 taxes once finalized, is take the PDF of your tax return and place it into your taxes notebook. Your return, along with all the supporting documents, will be in one notebook in case you ever need to refer to them. Visit www.irs.gov for information on how long you should keep your tax information.
Don’t forget to create a new notebook for 2017 Taxes and label each sub-notebook accordingly. Remove the 2016 tax notebook from your shortcut bar, and place 2017 tax notebook in its place so you can continue to collect next year’s tax information.
Taxes are never-ending, and if we stay diligent in organizing the information needed to prepare them, taxes don’t have to be a scary or stressful word.
Until next time,