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Get Organized, It's Tax Time!

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Tax time is crunch time for many.
RALEIGH — It just takes one word to make many of us run and hide. Taxes. It's thattime 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 gettingmore organized. And with the new tax year just beginning, now's theperfect 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 longway. 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'treimburse you with," Dubin continues, "whether it's telephone calls orauto 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 hasa 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 overwhelmedwith tax related paperwork. Holloman's software company recently hired abusiness manager, which it hopes will mean smoother sailing at tax time.

"Taxes don't do anything for the business," says Holloman, "but it's apiece that has to be dealt with, and yes it's excellent to be able to getthat moving forward in a routine fashion."

In some cases, you can actually deduct the cost of having someone prepareyour taxes.

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