Survival Guide to the TaxTime ordeal
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.
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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