Office Depot has partnered with Personal Finance Expert Farnoosh Torabi regarding personal finance, tax, home and office organization tips.
I think a huge problem for many families is keeping those papers and mailings organized: How to organize personal documents, which papers to save, and which to shred – and how to keep it all together! Farnoosh had a few ideas on how to stay organized, by getting organized! If your workspace is cluttered, your life will feel cluttered! I can’t agree with this more!
I had the wonderful opportunity to do an over-the-phone interview with Farnoosh. Please see this video:
You can assess the mess and focus on three key areas: debt, savings, and your credit:
- Gather bills and statements from all three categories and begin arranging them using labels, folders and other organizational tools
- A shredder also comes in handy when you want to get rid of dated materials and personal information you no longer need.
- Begin looking ahead – make sure your messy desk doesn’t create messy finances, especially when dealing with tax-related paperwork, mortgage or rent statements, car insurance bills, warranties and other important documents
Office Depot is also hosting a giveaway for TWO H&R Block’s At Home Deluxe or Business tax software! The software is easy to use, intuitive and will help your readers get their taxes ready to go long before the IRS deadline.
Office Depot has a great site (http://www.officedepot.com/tax) where readers can go to get a plethora of tax-related information and tips, and they are also offering customers 25 free copies of their tax return (coupon can be found here: http://f.chtah.com/i/48/1237020949/CPD_TaxLand_1210.pdf ) until 4/15/11.
Last Minute Tax Tips from Office Depot’s Finance Expert, Farnoosh Torabi:
Good news is you have three EXTRA days this year to file, due to April 15 falling on a holiday in D.C. this year.
1. File Online. Go green and save time and money. Choose from a variety of affordable online software to help you file your taxes [H&R Block At Home Deluxe & At Home Business] Note that taxpayers whose adjusted gross income was $58,000 or less in 2010 can file electronically for free through the IRS web site at freefile.IRS.gov.
2. Boost IRA Savings. Contributing to a traditional IRA is one of the last ways to really reduce your 2010 taxable income before April 18. You have until the very last day to contribute to this retirement account and deduct the amount from your taxable income. The dollar limit contribution for 2010 is $5,000 is you’re 49 or younger. $6,000 if you’re age 50 or older.
3. Remember the Basics. Be sure to sign and date your 1040. Review your personal identification – social security, address, business ID (for business owners), etc.
4. Opt for Direct Deposit. Another perk to filing electronically is that if you’re expecting a refund, you can get your check sent directly to your savings account. And because you avoid snail mail you can probably get paid a week early.
5. Add Up All Your Write-Offs. Deductible expenses here and there can add up to big savings come tax day. Job hunting-related expenses such as relocation (50 miles away from current home), travel and meals, copies, faxes, are eligible for a tax deduction. Also, if you are self-employed you may receive deductions for insurance paid out of pocket and any self-employment taxes. Don’t forget deductions for student loan interest and medical savings accounts, too.
6. Make a Copy of Your Return. It will come in handy when filling out next year’s return. Plus if you apply for a mortgage or a refinance, banks will want to see your tax return. Keep returns for an average 3 years from when it was filed, during which time the IRS is most likely to audit (if at all).
7. Stay Organized. As soon as you’re done filing make sure you keep all your paperwork organized. Your return, your paystubs, your receipts, will all come in handy down the road if (and I hope this doesn’t happen) the IRS decides to audit your return or if there is a discrepancy between the IRS records and what you claimed and you need to prove that, indeed, you filed everything correctly.
8. Out of Time? Get an Extension. If you absolutely can’t make the April 18th deadline this year, you can request a six-month extension by filling out the IRS Form 4868.
This first entry is MANDATORY. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite tax time tip!
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Open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway ends March 3rd, 2011 at 11:59pm. Winner will be drawn by random.org the following day, and will be e-mailed. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. Winners will be announced on this blog after all have responded. I received a Gift Card and Software in exchange for this post. However, all of my opinions are 100% my own and are no way influenced by compensation received.