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Filing, Filing, Filing

February 26th, 2018

A few weeks ago, when I posted about my filing cleanup, a few of you wanted to know about the filing system I use. It all starts with these plastic file boxes and the regular green hanging file folders (and a package of colored ones for me, but those are not necessary). I keep records for both myself personally (personal and my small business), for my dad, and for the business I manage in one plastic file box. I print labels for each file folder, including one for each month of the year, one for taxes, accounting printouts, taxes, and any other categories I need to track. (often I use a red folder for taxes, a yellow for important documents, etc., something to easily set it apart from other files so I can quickly add documents).

The box lives right by my desk and as I need to file something, it goes right into the correct file. Typically, the current month is at the front and I move the months back as they are over. Filing things instantly is the best way to do it, there’s never any stack that needs filing. In some cases, I have files within the files. For my blog, I keep a regular file folder (non-hanging) inside the current month’s folder. Any necessary receipt for it gets put directly in this folder, it is then moved into the following month’s folder when that month starts. When the year is over, the box goes into the garage and a new one is started. When taxes need to be done, I simply have to grab my tax folder and all the necessary information is in that folder. It’s very rare that I have to search for an important paper or receipt that my accountant needs for my taxes.

I also keep a set of files that get moved from last years box to this year, things like insurance, car files, medical files, retirement accounts, etc. I also keep the previous year’s tax folder with return as well, in case I need to reference it.

After spending a day cleaning up old files, I decided that starting this year I was going to ruthless about what things I saved. My personal files are organized in such a way that I can simply empty out the monthly file folders after a few years, all important information is kept in the tax folder or the files that get moved each year.

Even though I keep very little nowadays in the way of filed papers, I’m hoping to cut down on it even more. This system makes it easy to deal with papers after a few years, anything that’s important is set aside throughout the year. When I didn’t have to keep business records, I used a pocket file box for each year. It worked beautifully, I even colored my labels to match.

Do you have a good filing system in place? What’s your biggest struggle with filing & paperwork? For those of you wondering about my system, do you have any specific questions?

Death and Taxes

February 24th, 2015

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday I spent the day filing out my tax notebook for my accountant. We’ve had the same accountant for many years, he’s always been FANTASTIC. He’s not cheap, but the peace of mind he provides and the savings he provides on our taxes more than makes up for his hefty fee. Of course our taxes are not simple, with two businesses and now a woodlot to add to the mix he has to work hard to get his fees.
I’m sure I could do our taxes myself, but I like having someone else check my figures and maximize my tax benefits. Kenny is fantastic at what he does, he has a masters degree in accounting after all. It’s ridiculous for me to think that I can do something he’s studied many years to do. He also keeps up with all the tax laws and makes sure all his clients know any new laws that affect their businesses throughout the year. He really is worth his weight in gold, at least in my mind. I like spending a few hours filling out the notebook on his website and then signing forms and paying the bill when he’s all finished up! I’ll spend my extra time starting seeds this time of year.

Do you do your own taxes or have someone do them for you? 

Tax Season is Upon Us

February 1st, 2010

I spent a few hours this weekend filling out my on-line tax notebook for our accountant. Since we own a small business, our taxes are a bit complicated. I used to do them myself, but when it comes to depreciation schedules, home office deductions and all the extra forms, I’d rather pay a professional to do it for me. I’m pretty certain he saves us at least as much as I pay him, and I don’t have to spend the hours filling out all the forms so it’s a win-win situation.

I’m pretty organized when it comes to taxes, which takes the stress out of tax season. All I have to do is print off my ledger from my accounting software and fill out the on-line forms. We meet with our tax guy so he can double check numbers and give us any advice on ways to reduce our tax liability. He also collects any necessary forms and receipts. All-in-all I spend a couple hours on my taxes each year, and I’m happy to have them finished as early as I can, which this year is today!

Do you do your own taxes or do you pay someone else to take care of them?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.