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Stress Relief ... Concierge Style!

While we had hoped never to write these words, the facts don’t lie. We have now been in various stages of lockdown for over one year. One year!

That’s a lot of time for stress to build up and while the pandemic has impacted us all in different ways, stress on some level is certainly a common theme.

Because this time of year is also often referred to as “tax season,” there is an added element of extra stress for many of us right now.

As we hinted at in our first March blog, today we’re looking at ways to get better organized for future tax seasons –

offering you some much needed stress relief, Concierge style.

Whether you are looking for personal or professional help

(we love to work with folks who can use a little extra help at home AND small business professionals who need support)

the secret to riding out a successful tax season lies in organization.

Sounds obvious right? What is obvious however, is often not so simple because getting organized takes time, planning and preparation and for many of us, lacking time is the thing we complain about most.

It can also be overwhelming to stare at stacks of paper and files, receipts that have been crumpled up in a wallet or purse and overwhelming to think about additional tax paperwork related to the pandemic, or health claims or allowable business expenses.

You might not need a tax expert but you might need an expert in organization. Here are just a few simple tips to get you started:

Files are your friend!

Seriously. They are. Invest in a good filing system, even colour coded and get organized sooner than later. You might think “everything is online these days” but it’s not! Gas receipts, donation receipts from charities (some are, some aren’t) and if we can ever go to a restaurant again – they will hand you a receipt too. You need a place to put all that paper and a filing system that is EASILY ACCESSIBLE (so you will easily use it) is just what you need.

We love labels.

When we talk about a filing system, it only works well if you set it up to work well. That’s where labels come in. Use a label maker if you have to or write clearly, in large letters and ensure your label makes sense. This is no time for the catchy or obscure – if the file is for “charitable donation receipts” label it Charitable Donation Receipts! Don’t overcomplicate things. Remember you’re trying to create a system that’s easy to use and easy to access so that next tax season, you have all your information already sorted either for you to do your taxes or to hand off to your accountant.

Scanning saves space.

Frankly, this is something that gets overlooked quite often. Scanning your receipts not only preserves them but can help save space by allowing for an electronic filing system. CRA rules still dictate that records must be kept for a period of 7 years and I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the ink on your gas receipts from 2017 is probably already fading. If you don’t have time for scanning, ask thE Concierge how we can help get you started.

Write on your write offs.

Have you ever found a receipt in your wallet or purse and wondered what it was for? Sometimes, getting organized is simply about starting new habits. In this case, get into the habit of writing on your receipts immediately. If you’re at a restaurant, sign the check and write on the receipt at the same time. If buying something for your business, write on the receipt as soon as your get back to your home office or place of business and you are unpacking whatever you bought. It takes a few days for a habit to set in but at the end of the year, you’ll be glad you did.

Dedicate a day – and a diary won’t disappoint.

No matter how hard you plan and prepare, you will still likely need a solid day of work to get your tax paperwork in place. For many, frustration arises when they set aside “an hour or two” and then run into issues or interruptions. Your internet might lag, an important work call interrupts or the kids demand dinner. You should count on setting aside an entire day dedicated just to focussing on your taxes. If, along the way, you find a receipt unlabelled or can’t remember whether a certain gas or parking receipt is for business travel – having your diary, online calendar or day timer handy will help to remind you where you were and what you were doing.

If you need help putting systems in place to support the successful negotiation of future tax seasons, contact thE Concierge. We’re experts at tackling the big jobs, getting you organized THIS YEAR and leaving you with the skills you need to tackle tax seasons in the future. There are more tips and tools available to you and we’re happy to share them in a one on one consultation over zoom, a phone call or via email.

As well, we’ve sourced this list of good tax blogs from a variety of information providers and encourage you to take some time to read, plan and prepare for tax season.

If you still need some stress relief – ask us how we can help you Concierge style!

The CPA is always a credible source of information. Check out their tax blogs on a variety of topics here: https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/business-and-accounting-resources/taxation/blog

A Review of Tax Software updated for 2021 can be found here: https://youngandthrifty.ca/best-tax-return-software-canada-2019/

Obviously we would be remiss if we did not refer Canadians to the CRA! https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html

Looking for specific advice on how to file electronically? https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals.html

Moody’s is considered a reliably credible source for current tax blogs. You can check them out here: https://www.moodystax.com/blog/#category-tax-in-canada

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