This months edition of the Organized Lifestyle Magazine is all about organizing and money - they do go hand in hand.
We'll share tips and practical ideas on 'how-to' organize to save you money, make tax time easier, increase your desk-time productivity and give yourself a little more peace-of-mind.
Tax Record Retention Made Easier
This is the time of year when many of us are working on our tax returns - or are just starting to think about it! Whatever stage you are at, one important question that often daunts us is: "How long do I need to keep my supporting documents?" Well, the magic number is....6.
That's six years to keep all records and supporting documents accompanying your tax returns, according to information from the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). This six year period begins at the end of the tax year, for example, most of us are now working on our taxes for the year ending December 31 2012, and therefore, our supporting documents must be kept until the end of the year 2018.
Here's a simple organizing tip to help with your tax record retention:
Label your tax folder: Taxes 2012/ Keep 2018, and continue this format for all future tax folders, that way you can more easily remember when to purge documents that will no longer be needed. But note that if you file your tax return late, you will have to begin the 6 year count from the date you file your return. In that case, your tax folder label becomes even more critical so that you don't get confused with years when you filed on time.
But what about other important documents like property deeds and other historical information? You should never discard records for sale or disposal of property or documents pertaining to a sale or liquidation of your business. There are special requirements of record retention for business documents which your accountant can provide you with. Always consult with a tax preparation specialist or review the plentiful information on the CRA website.
For complete details on Books and Records Retention/Destruction, download the CRA's Information Circular on this topic.
By knowing what and for how long you have to keep your supporting documents, you can avoid potential penalties should you ever need to provide CRA officials with more information, and that will give you one less thing to worry about!
|Double-up to Boost Productivity
It makes sense that an efficient office space layout should increase your overall productivity by allowing you to find things faster and work more comfortably, thereby resulting in a feeling of positive accomplishment at the end of each working day. Your office furniture placement, lighting, shelving, filing systems and even chair design, all play a role in your productivity, however, one often overlooked area is the use of your computer monitors and I do mean monitors in the plural. If you don't already use two monitors at your computer desk work station, then you are missing out on a super productivity booster.
Multi-tasking has become the norm - interruptions and unexpected issues always seem to find their way to your desk. Rarely do we work on only one computer application at a time so it's not uncommon to have your word processing software, your spreadsheet program, your email and your internet browser all open while you click back and forth on each of them. Thus, it follows that two monitors on your desk give you way more viewing power so that you can work seamlessly on all of these applications together. And the beauty of it is that you can move your mouse from one screen to the other so effortlessly - it's almost magical as your mouse flies through the air between your two screens.
To learn how to set up your second monitor, just follow these steps from Microsoft.
Whether you begin using two monitors at your work office or your home office, you will soon become hooked and recognize the value of investing in a second monitor for any desk area where you do a lot of computing. Not only will you be certain to increase your computing productivity, but maybe you will even be inspired to get your online tax filing done!
Tax Organizing is Time Well Spent
Let's face it, gathering up a whole year's worth of receipts and other documents pertaining to your tax filing can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. You don't want to miss out on important tax deductions just because you didn't keep track of them throughout the year, especially if you are a small business owner who may be able to deduct gas mileage, business lunches, and home office expenses. If you still don't have a clear process for taking care of your tax related documents, then consider implementing strategies for next year as you work on compiling this year's documents.
Here are some organizing tips to make next year's tax filing a breeze:
- If you can deduct gas mileage, set up your mileage log book and keep it visible in your car so that you never forget to use it.
- If you don't already use a computerized financial management system such as Quicken or Mint.com, consider setting this up now so that next year's tax records are easy to generate. It's not too late to still catch up on inputting the data for your income and expense records for 2013 since it's still fairly early in the year.
- Set up "receipt stations" in areas where you can easily save them - this could be as simple as 12 envelopes labeled for each month in a 3-ring binder in your kitchen or a section of your file cabinet devoted to tax receipts. But whatever method you choose, the key to success lies in commitment to a system that makes it more like a daily habit than a chore.
- Start planning your spring cleaning now by seeking out items you no longer use from your basement or garage and donate them to charity making sure to obtain your tax deduction for next year.
Setting up efficient systems to support your tax preparation for the next time around will ultimately reduce your accountant's fees. Take control of your financial management today by booking your Personal or Business consultation with a kAos Group expert and you'll be well prepared for tax time in 2013.
Read more on tax time organizing and your money....
What's Your Relationship with Money?
Money consumes so much of our time, energy and purpose in life. We strive to obtain a degree so that we can earn more money. We work hard at our job so that we can get a raise for more money. We invest money in property, stocks, retirement plans so that we can get even more money. But with the pursuit of all this money, we must take care that we nurture ourselves with the substance of values and what truly matters, rather than just things and status.
Now that you are evaluating your earnings from 2012 as you prepare your tax return, make it a goal to embrace money in healthy ways for 2013 by taking the time to learn about how to manage your money sensibly, invest your money wisely, and save your money to meet your needs and perhaps even help others if you are lucky enough to be in a position to do so.
Take some time to examine your money habits:
- Do you find yourself carelessly spending on unnecessary expenses? Record everything that you spend over a one month period either in a notebook or using financial planning software and see how quickly those lattés and office lunches add up. Then really think before you spend.
- Do you buy things in the grocery store that stay on your kitchen shelves for months or spoil in your fridge? Try a 1 week "grocery fast" - don't buy anything at all in the grocery store for a 1 week period except for critical perishables (eg, milk, produce), but even avoid buying those if you can, and try to just live off what you have stored in your freezer and in your cupboards. You will be amazed at how you can come up some pretty creative recipes. Then evaluate in advance what you really need to buy each week.
By building a better relationship with money, not only will you have more of it, but you will avoid becoming so consumed by it that you forget how to really enjoy the things that money can allow you to afford. Make your financial choices carefully and you will in turn elevate your own spiritual fulfillment.
Can our Professional Organizing Services help you?
You might contact us for Office Support if you:
- would like to be more productive
- want to optimize your calendar
- know that there is a better way to get the job done
- are a team leader or business owner
- want to accomplish more each day - more easily
You might contact us for Individual or Team Training if you or a team member:
You may contact us for Household Support if you:
- would like to sort, organize and create systems for your home
- struggle with the amount of paper in your home
- have downsized a parent and ended up with more stuff than when you started
- know what you want to organize and simply need a Professional Organizer to to help you get it all done