09 April 2008

Tax.filer: Simple, beautiful organizer will make next year's tax prep a breeze

This will be my one and only post about tax time because really? Who wants to think about it any more than one has to?

But I just had to share this lovely product that appeared in my mailbox the other day -- Tax.filer by the folks at Buttoned Up (makers of all sorts of nifty organizers and paper products you've likely seen gracing the shelves at Target). If only I had had a Tax.filer in 2007, the dreaded job of going through all of my paperwork (heaped in various boxes and files of course) would have been much less heinous.

Tax.filer is an expandable file stocked with sections for all of the paperwork you need as you fill out your tax forms. W-2s, statements, medical expenses, there's a spot for everything. The look of the file and the category names ("money in," "money out") are friendly and clean, which actually makes a big difference to me -- my brain starts to freeze when I see tax lingo. The simplicity of the design fills me with hope and resolve for tax year 2008.

Whether or not you decide to go for a readymade solution like Tax.filer or you want to create your own filing system, consider doing it now (or, perhaps, the week after you put the return in the mail). You'll still be in the mindframe, and you are probably more motivated to do it now than at any other time during the year. Think of the time and grief you'll save come this time next year!

Win it! Buttoned Up has offered to send a free Tax.filer to one lucky Parenthacker! I'll choose a random winner from the comments...just answer this question:

Not a question, really. I don't want to ask for tax tips (unless you've got some great ones, if so, please share!) -- I would much rather hear what you do to celebrate the sending off of your return. Do you go to Disneyland? Pour a cocktail? Throw a party? Or just feel relieved?

I'll post the winner tomorrow at 5pm PST. Good luck!

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That little black cloud that forms around Feb 1 and follows me until I file my taxes sort of disintegrates and floats away. It's a nice feeling.

We just sigh a big sigh of relief! :)

Usually tax time isn't a big deal for me, just something I have to remember to do with my mommmy brain.

This year however was a nightmare and I pretty much had to give them my first born. But then she threw a tantrum and they decided it wasn't worth it and gave her back. Whew! So now I just owe them a bunch of money.

I will be doing my taxes tonight :(

We usually go out to dinner; that's a standard celebration activity for us, because we can never have too many excuses for eating out!

Even though we use an accountant, it's still such a hassle and we're always scrambling around on the day of our appointment. Ever since we had a kid, 3 years ago, we've become less and less organized. So when we leave our appointment, even though we owe money, it's just one huge sigh of relief.

Yes, we still have not done ours, yet :(

Maybe this would help my resolve to get them done in a timely manner next year!

I do mine on TurboTax and then take it to an HR&Block person to double check - a cheap sanity check for my deductions (have I gotten them all) and good error checking. It's my final step before finishing things - always makes me feel happy to get it over with.

To celebrate our tax returns being accepted without problem (efile) my husband poured me a glass of wine and rubbed my shoulders.

this year being the first tax year being married, with a baby (nak) and a biz, i'm begging for some champagne and a bubble bath!!!!

We're still doing the taxes. Or, I should say, my HUSBAND is still doing them. I get hives just thinking about doing taxes. My last attempt was a hypothetical 1040-EZ my senior year of high school. So my husband has spent every spare moment the last week balancing bank accounts, sorting, and filing. Tonight he's going to attempt to install TurboTax on our aging laptop. Meanwhile, I spent two hours this afternoon helping my mom (who is a retired tax preparer) sort HER tax info! Argh. I think I'll celebrate with a margarita. Or maybe a new laptop. Or both!

We breathe a tiny sigh of relief, but then continue to hold the rest of our breath as we keep our fingers crossed for a refund!

Now we get to go to bed at a normal hour. My husband worked on them every evening for two weeks. It is nice to have him back!

We usually go out to dinner, but this time around, we really will be going to Disneyland! Yay for us!

Just a huge sigh!

After our taxes were filed, we went to Home Depot and bought the new kitchen cabinet hardware we wanted, then, we wrote a check to American Express.

The ritual that precedes tax time is based on whether I owe or not...
If I owe then I play the poor man to offset the difference. If I get money back, then it's a party or go back to our DVC (Disney Vacation Club) home in Orlando at Saratoga Springs... Really it's for the kids!

We always do a "happy dance" and splurge for dinner by making Velveeta Shells & Cheese. :)

I just kick back, relax and hope that I did the math right! :)

This is the first year I didn't have to go to the post office on April 15th to mail my return.

I just feel so relieved to be done "early" this year.

That was celebration enough.

So far, we've always gotten a return...so we smile and commence stalking the bank account til we see that deposit hit. Then we pay bills. Whoopee.

We dream about what to spend the money on than we just end up paying something off with it like our Home Depot card!

2007 was the first year in which freelance income made up the majority of my earnings. So a hefty tax bill for 07, coupled with the first estimated tax payment for 08, means that there will be some heavy duty drowning of the sorrows when I write those checks next week. (The returns themselves have already been filed by our accountant.)

This year, we're on sabbatical and living abroad - we got a no-questions extension for 6 months. Woo hoo!


But otherwise, what do we do? We sit down and figure out what awesome trip we want to take. That is the fun part...

the not fun part is the crap that leads up to it. Living internationally, this and that income source, citizenship here and there, and finally, submitted! How do we celebrate?

Not. At. All. sigh.

How would I like to celebrate? "Oh, sweetie, you're the GREATEST!" smooch. Etc.

ha ha.

Seriously, it's such a non-issue that we don't worry about it when we live stateside. Why celebrate? We just live, that's all. It's civic duty/normalcy, no more.

I just feel a huge relief. We began using a CPA last year, too, which takes a lot of load off of my shoulders, as well. We don't get a refund this year (boo), so we're waiting on the tax bonus the President promised to everyone in May! :0) ( meg.wilson@gmail.com )

Finally sleep a sleep without night terrors of audits.

We got our return back Feb 23 this year so the money is already spent. Our family tradition that started when we were young parents with a toddler was to got to Red Lobster. Then we would get new shoes, socks, under-garments, blue jeans, and sunglasses for every member of the household.

As soon as I click "file" I plan which bills I will pay first.

We owe- no celebrating that. But...last year my due date was April 15th. My bday is the 18th and I had Carlynn the 19th. This is always going to be a crazy time of year for our family!

Two asprin and a box of girl scout cookies are required material for tax prep around here. The celebration? A sigh of relief.

We are big procrastinators, so even though we have an accountant, managing to get them in on time is a huge relief. If we succeed this year, we will be sure to have a celebratory drink.

A bowl of ice cream.

Always a great reward!

I actually... enjoy doing our taxes. Pencil and paper, and several versions to make sure I got everything. My husband checks everything - and has found some big omissions in the past - and then we send it in on paper. Our celebration? Reviewing our budget and making plans for retirement & college savings.

A sigh of relief!

"cringe, shudder, sigh, drink"

We plot out the number of days it will take to have our return deposited into our accounts.

Thank God for Turbo Tax. We had the refund going into our emergency cash account at Vanguard.

I've been Turbo Taxing for 3 years now and I feel like I can't breath while I'm working on it. Every year I vow to use Quicken and be more organized...You know in June I'll be balancing my checkbook based off my cash station receipts again. I will grow up. I will grow up...I must repeat over and over... I always owe and I feel so good the minute after I drop it in the mailbox on the 15th--late in the afternoon. Oh "The Man" won't get my money any time sooner...

In celebration I make popcorn and double butter it. I also send a congratulations message to my accountant friend.

My tip - 30% of Marketday is tax deductible and all those GS cookies that I buy and give to the troop are deductible as well...

We look forward to getting our tax return in because so far we've gotten a refund every year. Don't know how long that will last (sigh) but while it does we send in the information as early as we can and wait for that money.

I stopped sweating this year. My biggest stresser has always been my mileage. Before I never actually had a log and lied my tail off. Highly suggest this device I found online called an Automatic Mileage Log. I'm back to business now.

I stopped sweating this year. My biggest stresser has always been my mileage. Before I never actually had a log and lied my tail off. Highly suggest this device I found online called an Automatic Mileage Logger. I'm back to business now.

I'll admit that my husband and I are a few years behind. So, this year, when we send out taxes in, I think I'm going to celebrate with a bottle of wine.

Baby's getting a 529 plan started!

Not that he'll need one, because he's so brilliant all the universities will be clamoring to offer him full-ride scholarships.

But just in case! ;)

Wince with astonishment as we make the medical deductible AGAIN, happily write a check to our fantastic accountant and do the following three things: 1) Pay something off - this year, it was 5 little somethings. 2) Do something good for us - this year, it was the purchase of a http://www.waterrower.com 3) Do something frivolous for the whole family - this year it was a day of bowling and snack food.

We feel relieved. And either open a bottle of wine or have a stiff whiskey - depending on how the checks are written.

Don't ever move to a new state in the middle of the year! This year was/is horrible for taxes. Three states plus a horrible federal return, it couldn't get any worse. I'm already behind on 2008.

We try to get them done early. And my "organization" is really one big envelope. But we sit with a bottle of wine and daydream of all the things we want to buy. Then put the money into savings. :D

This year we are using our return to pay for cord blood banking for our second son due in August. I would definitely recommend cord blood banking for anyone who can afford it. And I wish insurance would cover at least the collection and processing if not the storage. There is such a huge controversy over stem cell research in this country and we are throwing away a huge resource for stem cells every day. With our family history of illness we wold feel like we had not done everything we could for our child if we didn't bank the cord blood.

There are a few different companys doing cord blood storage but this is the one we used for our first son and will be using for our second as well.
http://www.viacord.com/

We celebrated newlywed style... Having our firstborn in 2007, plus some other bonuses, we ended up with a chunk of money back that allowed us to pay off some credit cards. WooHoo!

We don't really celebrate much cause we put our return into savings, but I have been known to do a little dance when it is a good return :)

I mostly just feel relieved. This year however, I'm going to a women's mini-spa birthday party that happens to be held the evening of April 15. That's motivation to be done this weekend, if at all possible!

We have an accountant, but there's always a lot of stress and scrambling the week before trying to collect and organize all of the documents and receipts we need to bring. To squeeze some good out of the day, I always make our appointment for early afternoon and we both take half days from work and go out to eat afterwards. Sushi this year. Mmmm! It turns a stressful experience into a mini "date" and gives us something to look forward to while we're sweating it out in the accountant's office.

For the last few years, we have owed money so even though we are glad to get the paperwork completed...it is no fun to write that check!

I file as early as possible (end of Jan., typically), so it's not so much a big deal getting it done... That just starts the weekly routine of checking the bank account to see if the refund has posted! ;)

sounds great! I'd love one, but then again, almost anything would be better than just throwing receipts and documents into a moving box.

In the past we have made appointments with our marriage counselor to try and undo the damage we've done to each other in the tax prep process! This year, being a good year, we simply exhaled!

We don't do anything special. Perhaps we should this year because we just merged finances, making this year's taxes more complicated.

Ugh. I made the mistake of putting off the tax stuff until the last night of Spring Break. It really ruined what had been a nice time off. But when I did mail everything in, I felt a million times lighter. Now if that refund would just hit my account!

My husband actually did our taxes yesterday, and for the first time since we got married, we have to pay, but because of the govt stipend, they'll send us a check for more than the amount we owe. Can't they just deduct what we owe? It seems really stupid to me to pay now, but receive more later, but I guess that's the govt for you!

Cleaned my desk off of all THAT clutter! Now I think I can ponder a few ideas on how to spend my refund *BIG SMILES*

I get myself a burrito. :)

Usually, i go to bed. That because I wait until nearly midnight on the 15th to attend the party at the Post Office.

Oops. I'm the post office party-er. Forgot to put my name. That's exactly why I need to wait to the last minute - I make to many mistakes.

My wife and I usually look through catalogs and decide what we're going to get for our little ones with the return. Is a great feeling knowing money is coming and we can finally get the outdoor toys we feel safe for the kids.

Mostly I just look at my bank account and heave a sigh of relief that we have the funds to cover the bill. Although, this year, I'm also getting excited that the feds will send us $1200 just for filing (sort of).

hope it gets lost, through no fault of our own,in the chaos of the postal system. Just kidding IRS Man!

We made it easy on ourselves by e-filing, but we still have to send in our checks - holding off on writing that painful amount until the last possible moment - and then we will celebrate with a cheesy pizza!

I "celebrate" the completion of my taxes by trying to put some of the pulled out hair back into my scalp. Then I spend a few hours doing facial exercises in the mirror to try and to remove the permanent scowl from my face. Next, I walk around holding anything heavy at my sides to try and get my shoulders to detach from the sides of my neck. Once I return to the human race, I spend my time planning how I will do better preparing for my taxes next year! Somehow, it always turns out the same the next year….oh well.

I actually have a little fun on tax day. I wait for the last possible minute to mail my returns, then I head out, late at night, to the main post office. It's open till midnight on tax day, and it's like a big party there. I like the communal feeling of all the procrastinators in the same place at one time.

We tend to celebrate when the return comes in, although we do sneak in a cocktail toast when the forms get sent away.

Not exactly thrilling from the exterior, but I'm taking my return and paying off one of my credit cards. It is going to be such a relief!!!

We've had to pay the last few years, so I really don't feel like celebrating after writing a check to the IRS. However, I do sleep well the night after all the work gets done - usually the 12th or 13th or 14th of April. Which reminds me, I've got work to do...

We 'celebrate' by finally putting away this huge stack of papers that has been taking up residence on our computer desk til taxes are down. ;) Yes, finally get my desk back!! And then I take a nap. Hehe.

...cross my fingers...hehe...

My husband does the taxes, so I only have to di through all my paperwork, and pat him on the back. We sigh when it is done. My paperwork is in disarray this year, even though I attempt to keep things that I might need for taxes in one location. This tax thingy might be just the tool for next year when I really, really hope I'll have a another baby.

This year I decided to be the tax hero and tried to do it myself with Turbo Tax. My husband and I are each sole proprietors of our own businesses. Let me just say that doing this myself was not a good idea. We pay these fine people for this service because, darn it, who else wants to have to know all this stuff?!! After 3 solid days of mucking through the foreign language of tax-land, I am happy to say I gave in. Our CPA turned my $3,000 loss into an $1,100 return, simply by knowing what he was doing. Relief!!!

Our tax refund always ends up going straight to the kid's college fund. Not much fun, but does give us some peace of mind for the future!

We wipe the sweat beads of our foreheads and relax!

I made an appointment with a windows replacement company for those dual-paned, energy efficient, money-saving vinyl windows... that's where my tax return went this year. They are totally worth every penny!

I always just feel a little relief. We aren't too complicated when it comes to our return and TaxCut holds our hands while we go through. And we always get a refund. Three kids, mortgage, high property tax, and only one income will do that to you. Though we should decrease our withholdings so the gov't doesn't get to use our money, we REALLY enjoy getting a big return.

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