Survival Guide to the TaxTime ordeal

By: Nancy Zimmerman Tax Planning 1 Follower


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There’s no easy way to say this: your taxes have to get done, and you are the one mostly responsible.   Squeeze your eyes tight shut, open them and guess what. They’re still there. 
 
The only way I can stomach the process is to do bits at a time over the month of April.
 
So, here is simple survival guide to get through the ordeal.
 
1.  Create 2 files:  one labeled income, the other, deductions.   Leave these files in an easy-to-stuff-things place, and start tossing in the appropriate documents and receipts.  Also, jot reminders on the respective files about what should be included – like interest on loans funding non-registered investments,  or charitable donations (remember that walkathon for the office buddy's daughter's best friend last spring?)
 
2.  Block an hour into your mid-April schedule for step three.
 
3.  Spend an hour organizing the documents within the folders.   Examples include:
          a.  Investment Income
          b.  T-4 slips (employment income)
          c.  Interest income
          d.  Medical expenses
          e.  Home-based business deductions (eg. hydro, mortgage)
          f.   RRSP/401K contributions
 
4.  Based on the complexity of your taxes, indicated by step 3, decide if you will
          a.  Use an accountant
          b.  Use H & R Block
          c.   Do it yourself
                    1.  by e-file
                    2.  by QuickTax or another software pkg.
                    3.  manually
     Set yet another date either to hand it off, or settle in for a couple hours to do it yourself.
 
 
5.   Nothing disrupts a pleasant spring day like the discovery that you owe money.  If you suspect this will be the case, think of a plan A, B and C to handle it.  Do this before you are staring an actual number in the face.  You will then either be pleasantly surprised, or at least gain some comfort in having a rough plan.
 
6.   Psych yourself.  Seriously.  Close your eyes a few moments, and visualize yourself plugging in the last numbers, and either pressing ‘send’ or dropping the package into the post.  Feel the sense of relief and accomplishment.  Plan a specific reward to celebrate.
 
7.   Keep your appointment made in step 4.  Gather the files, a calculator, turn on the computer and get the thing done.  Blast some music, turn off the phone, do whatever you need to do to accomplish it as efficiently as possible. A glass of whiskey may be called for.
 
8.  Celebrate per step 6.   Raise a glass to Ottawa and Victoria, (or Washington, or London ...) then forget the whole thing for another year.
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