Get Organized, It's Tax Time!
Posted January 7, 1998
RALEIGH — It just takes one word to make many of us run and hide. Taxes. It's that time again. And although it's too late to save on those 1997 taxes, now is the time to start planning to slash your payout in 1998.
You've heard the saying there's only two things certain in life: death and taxes. You can at least make paying your taxes a little easier by getting more organized. And with the new tax year just beginning, now's the perfect time to get in the habit.
Certified Public Accountant Ken Dubin recommends keeping track of everything throughout the year.
If you itemize your tax forms, good recordkeeping will take you a long way. Dubin says mortgage interest is a key deduction you need to include, in addition to state taxes, personal property taxes, and others.
"You want to keep track of your job expenses that your employer doesn't reimburse you with," Dubin continues, "whether it's telephone calls or auto gas and travel, and entertainment, you want to keep receipts for all that."
But you can't itemize without the paperwork to back it up, and Dubin has a good method of keeping organized throughout the year.
He believes it's better to make separate folders for donations, taxes, interest expenses, medical expenses and job expenses.
Tax experts say small business owners like Dave Holloman often get overwhelmed with tax related paperwork. Holloman's software company recently hired a business manager, which it hopes will mean smoother sailing at tax time.
"Taxes don't do anything for the business," says Holloman, "but it's a piece that has to be dealt with, and yes it's excellent to be able to get that moving forward in a routine fashion."
In some cases, you can actually deduct the cost of having someone prepare your taxes.