Minimalist Tax Season

tax_seasonIt’s TAX SEASON! Woo Hoo! Nothing brings more joy to my heart than sitting down surrounded by documents, numbers and figures and rules that govern all of them. (NOT) After just a few weeks of all of these small sessions of number crushing I believe I have reached a point where I can say I am done. I have reviewed each item from beginning to end several times and can find no additional need to add another thing. Yet, I will sit back and wait until just before April 18th to file my taxes. Just for the record I am a TurboTax type of tax filer probably because I find it so much easier to simply take complete control of all of these number rather than trying to dictate them to a tax service who is basically doing the same thing I am doing, filling in data on a computer.

One of the things I do each year is to create folders on my computer and label them accordingly. I have folders for just about everything. Each time I receive a receipt or bill document I scan them with my iPhone with an app called Scanner Pro. It converts my scans into pdf format and sends them to dropbox. I find them in dropbox on my computer and rename them accordingly and drop them into the folders that I created. All of these folders are backed up to the cloud of my outlook account and saved for tax season.

This system of organization started when I decided that I wanted to rid myself of the filing cabinet that always seemed to grow out of control. I spent months scanning each and every important document and shredded anything of little value. After I scanned these documents, renamed them and placed them in folders I shredded them as well.

Through this process I learned the value of scanned and organized documents last year while doing my taxes. I could find just about anything I needed without leaving my desk. Another advantage I found was that if I needed to share a document with someone else like an insurance company I could find and email the document right from my cell phone. My documents are safe and secure on my laptop and backed up to the cloud so I never have to lose any of them because of a fire or flood.

I loved this process so much that soon I was scanning all of my old photographs and saving them too. As pictures are larger files than documents I elected to save them to a 256 gig thumb drive and also backing them up to the cloud of my google account.

This will be another year where I will be sending our Federal Government and State of Oregon additional money to cover the taxes that I am obligated to pay, but I already knew this was going to happen. Rather than send extra money in each paycheck I elect to simply place this amount of money in a savings account. When taxes are due each year I simply transfer the amount I put away into my checking account and pay my taxes.

This is my answer to simplification of TAX SEASON. Yea I know, it’s a lot of work but it actually becomes easier the more you do it. As I collect receipts from purchases or documents that come in the mail I place them in a folder. Every Saturday morning I spend a little time scanning, renaming and saving them. Many of my accounts I have elected to go paperless and have the ability to download the pdf file right from the source. This too makes life a little easier.

About SimpleLivingOver50

At 53 years old I am starting to realize how life changes both physically and emotionally. I strive for a life of simplicity. I am winning the battle with type II diabetes, created a plan to have all debt paid off in 4 years including the house, taking advantage of every opportunity to live life to it's fullest through adventures in nature, hiking, biking, loving and learning.
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10 Responses to Minimalist Tax Season

  1. tonytran2015 says:

    I do the same but I use my phone in macro mode to photo the documents.

  2. Herb & Kathy says:

    Thanks so much for the tip on the scan to pdf program. Just downloaded it. I too have mostly gone paperless and this new tool in my arsenal will get me another step closer.

  3. Gail Kaufman says:

    Regarding the setting aside money for additional taxes, be aware the IRS charges a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax:

    • It’s difficult to change that as both of our W4’s are set at zero.

      • Gail Kaufman says:

        No, what I mean is that the IRS wants the additional taxes due during the year rather than setting it aside in a bank account and paying at tax time. If you owe $1000 or more, they charge a penalty, according to my accountant and the link I posted.

      • Yes, I read it and it appears to apply more towards a business owner who pays taxes quarterly but doesn’t mention anything about the employee who has taxes taken out of their paycheck each pay period. While doing my taxes I didn’t notice any red flags that suggested that my taxes were increased due to underpayment throughout the year.

  4. kkeevins says:

    OMG! I’m going to be sick. Numbers. Oh NO! Bill, why, why, why did you have to bring up TAX TIME? Isn’t diabetes enough to think about? I’m nauseous — seriously. There’s NOTHING I detest more than numbers. Taking a deep breath.
    O.K. Here’s my solution. I e-mailed myself this post. I WILL consider (REALLY) the concept of scanning my receipts, ScannerPro, etc. But NOT now. I’m ready to take my info to my accountant, which in itself is torture, so the thought of next year just can’t be on my radar — not yet. Bill, is there a support group for this? The anxiety tax time produces in me is not to be believed. I think it’s a holdover from some VERY lean days in my past.
    I WILL SURVIVE, I know that. All kinds of cliches are popping into my head.
    THANKS A LOT, Bill. ๐Ÿ™‚
    –Kathy from:

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