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Archive for January, 2012

24
Jan

Tax Documents

In my last blog, I discussed getting ready for tax time. Here is a list of common documents many taxpayers will need. You can print out this blog post and check off the items that apply to your situation and make sure you have them when you or your tax preparer are ready to file your forms.

  • W-2 forms from employers
  • 1099-MISC forms for self-employment income
  • 1099-INT forms for interest
  • 1099-DIV forms for dividends
  • 1099-B forms for brokerage trades in stocks and bonds
  • K-1 forms for income from a partnership, small business or trust
  • 1099-SSA form showing any Social Security benefits received

Gather documents for any income not reported on an IRS form, such as rental income or alimony, and all canceled checks, receipts or spreadsheets for any tax-related expenses. If you paid federal and/or state estimated taxes, bring canceled checks and a summary of your payments.

It happens every year, so be prepared and be positively productive!

18
Jan

Get Your Tax Documents Organized

Tax documents begin arriving in our mailboxes from now through early February. Make a file folder or checklist to keep track of the documents you receive and need before your taxes can be prepared. Even if you have a tax preparer, they will need you to organize your documents. 

  • Sort receipts into categories, such as travel expenses, office supplies, memberships, clients gifts, etc.
  • Put everything in large manila envelopes or folders that will hold a variety of different-sized paper documents.
  • Update your tax software if you do it yourself.
  • Go to irs.gov and your state tax website to review any changes to the tax laws.
  • Save electronic records, such as calendars and expense and income logs, on an external drive to keep them safe. In case of an audit, you will need them.
  • Set an appointment with your accountant or tax preparer now before they get too busy.
  • Remember to file any local and business taxes also due this time of year. These are often lost in the crush to handle federal and state taxes.  

Tax time doesn’t have to be a hassle if you are prepared.

12
Jan

Email Management

In my last blog, I wrote about cleaning up your office.  Now, let’s tackle email! 

  • Is your in-box jammed with emails you have read and taken care of, but have not filed away?
  • Are you getting alerts that your “in-box is full,” and no more emails can be delivered?
  • Do you wish you could just trash it all and start over? 

Well, you can. Here’s how: 

  • Sort all those old, already-read emails cluttering your in-box into two lists—One to-keep list and one to-trash list.
  • Trash the ones you don’t need to keep and empty the trash can.
  • Set up a folder labeled: 2011 Archive. Move the emails you need to keep into that folder. If you have time later, you can organize them. For now, they are out of your in-box, and you can still access them if you need them. 

What about managing incoming email? Here are some easy tools: 

  • Sort and read emails based on your priorities for the day. Emails related to your highest priorities should be handled first.
  • After you have responded to an email—
    • File it in a folder you  have labeled for easy retrieval.
    • Trash it if you don’t need it.
    • If you can’t completely handle an email, put it in a pending folder for follow up.
    • Set an intention to empty your in-box daily.

Keep your email under control and have a positively productive day!

5
Jan

Simple Approach to Eliminating Clutter

 Look around your office. What do you see? 

  • Are there stacks of papers waiting to be filed?
  • Is your in-box overflowing?
  • Do you have “stuff” everywhere? 

If so, take fifteen minutes right now and tackle one small part. That’s all. Just fifteen minutes.

What if you took fifteen minutes every day? That adds up to 75 minutes a week or 300 minutes a month. Can you get organized in five whole hours a month? Sure, you can!

Set an intention to spend fifteen minutes every day improving your office, so you can be more positively productive in 2012. Make the words of Albert Einstein your motto: “Out of clutter, find simplicity.”