Posts Taged paperwork

Don’t Delay Any Longer: Get Started on Your Taxes Today

Hear that tap-tap-tapping noise? It’s the sound of calculators and keyboards, as Americans are working on filing their taxes this spring! The deadline to file your 2018 taxes is midnight on April 15, 2019. That’s just around the corner. Don’t hold off any longer—the time to file is now. According to the IRS, 20-25% of Americans wait until the final two weeks before the deadline to prepare their documents and file. The sooner you file, the less likely you will need to file an extension or pay a fine.

Here are seven reasons to get started on your taxes today:

  1. By the end of February most financial institutions have mailed out their respective tax documents. You should have all your documents gathered and organized. If you think you are still missing something (e.g., a document, form, or receipt), call the appropriate person to get that item sent to you right away. Tip: an email with the attached file is much quicker than the U.S. Mail.
  2. This is the first tax cut year under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which overhauled the code that doubled the standard deduction. Give yourself some time to make sure you file accordingly, because this new code may affect your exemptions and deductions, and thus, your refund. CNBC outlines these changes.
  3. Tax preparation professionals are now smack in the middle of the tax-filing season. As soon as you have all your documents, submit them to your tax professional. Don’t procrastinate on this; even CPAs have to get extensions if they can’t file your taxes in time.
  4. There is a penalty for not filing your taxes by the deadline. This penalty is harsher and different from the penalty for failure to pay what you owe by the deadline. You should file taxes on time even if you are unable to pay all the taxes you owe by the due date.
  5. Get ahead of the fraudsters! The IRS advises filing as early as possible, to keep identity thieves from using your information to file a return in your name, and then claim your refund.
  6. Don’t forget that tax refunds are your money! Why wait any longer than necessary to claim it? You’ll feel much better knowing it’s in your bank account, and not the government’s coffers.
  7. Filing your tax return now and checking that off your to-do list is one more way to lighten your load. No more thinking about taxes for at least another 9 months!
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What to Save and What to Shred: Paper Retention Guidelines

Even with many day-to-day tasks moving online, there will still–and always be–paper. The average American receives almost 50,000 pieces of mail in their lifetime, and 30% of it is junk. No wonder so many of us have piles of paper items that can quickly accumulate if not taken care of. You want to tackle the stacks of paper on your desk, but you’re not quite sure how to start? Our guidelines will help you know what to save, what to recycle, and what to shred.

The Simplify Experts Paper Retention Schedule:

  1. All tax returns are to be kept; receipts need to be kept for the last 7 years of returns only.
  2. Bank statements only have to be kept for 3 years unless a key component in your 7 years of tax receipts.
  3. Financial Brokerage accounts – keep the current year statements. At the end of year, save only year-end and tax related forms. Trade confirmations need to be kept to prove the original price of the stock when purchased until sold. Keep trade confirmations in a labeled manila folder with your tax receipts.
  4. Keep all medical billing statements and prescription receipts for the year should you incur large medical expenses for that year and have enough to claim a tax deduction. If you did not meet the medical claim amount for your income, than shred all medical billing at year-end.
  5. You only need a couple months worth of utilities unless you run a business out of your home and are writing off a portion of those expenses to your business.
  6. If you believe you will be doing a wealth of improvements to your home for the life of your home, keep all home improvement receipts for capital gains tax when you sell the home.
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7 Reasons You Might Need to Hire a Professional Organizer

Photo by Sarah Jane from Pexels

When it comes to organizing your home and your possessions, it can be hard for anybody to know where to start and the best way to go about making your house work for you. With all the various stresses of life, like moving home and having children (or anything that requires deep forward planning with time), it can be hard to even find the time to begin the process of organizing your home.

Professional Organizers are a great option for people who need a little bit of extra help with the process of organizing their things. Whether those things be a reorganization of the interior of your home entirely or having assistance organizing stacks of important paperwork, professional organizers can make the process much easier.

Here are seven reasons you might want to hire a professional organizer, and some ideas of what they can do for you.

1. You Want To Declutter, But Don’t Know Where to Start

Without even getting into situational specifics, if you feel that you are having a hard time even starting the organization process, a simple and short meeting with a professional organizer can help you to plan out your moves and come up with ideas for decluttering efficiently. A professional organizer can still help with the process itself, but they’re available for advising on organization projects as well!

2. Reorganizing the Whole Home

When changing around the interior layout of your home, you should probably be thinking

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5 Ways to Make a Rainy February Productive

Plan and be productive

February – the month of the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, football jerseys and candy hearts. Around here, it’s also the month when we start wishing for the puddles to dry and spring to arrive. While it is still cold and gray outside, you CAN be productive and get lots done inside. Grab your favorite coffee drink, and let’s get cracking!

Put Away Holiday Decor

If you haven’t done so yet, pack up the rest of the holiday décor and put it away until next year. Return your inflatable Santa to it’s box in the garage, and recycle the sad, dry Christmas wreath. If the gloomy February weather is sapping your energy, you might need an energetic, cheerful organizer to boost your productivity and get the last of that holiday décor put away. We are a phone call away.

Reduce your Partner’s Burden this Valentine’s Day

For Valentine’s Day, think about doing something simple yet thoughtful.

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7 Simple Ways to Protect Your Home When on Vacation

protect your home

In early spring each year, Seattleites trade their winter boots for flip-flops, and take off in search of warmth and sun. Before you order your Uber to SeaTac, use these 7 simple strategies to protect your home while you are away.

  • No one wants to come home to find out that a pipe burst and flooded the interior of their house. Turn off your water before you leave to go on vacation. Find your main water shut off and turn off the water on your way out the door.
  • Some kitchen stoves have a safety lock feature on the control panel. You can temporarily disable the gas flow to the stove, should something unexpected, like an earthquake, happen while you are away.
  • Set a timer, so that a lamp or two turns on every night,
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Are You Drowning in Paper Piles?

paper piles

Where does all that paper come from?

Paper used to be a rare and precious commodity, but today most families are drowning in it. Mail, such as utility bills, financial statements, medical explanation of benefits, store catalogs, magazines, and election pamphlets are delivered daily. Children’s school work and art projects also create volumes of paper. Work related documents, those can pile up quick. What if you have a small business? Tons of paper. What if you manage multiple properties? More paper.

Much of the paper which enters our homes represents an action item of one kind or another. The action item might be: pay this bill, review this statement, call this company, read this document, save this document for the future, take advantage of this retail offer. You empty the mailbox on your way home from work, and voila everything in the mailbox is more to-dos for you. Great. Just great. As if you didn’t have enough to do already.

Mounds and Mounds of Paper

Even if you don’t receive many magazines or catalogs and you pay your bills on-line, you are still dealing with mounds

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5 Master Bedroom Organizing Hacks for More Serenity

calm bedroom oasis

We build large master bedroom suites with the intention of using them as an oasis for rest and relaxation.  Then we use our master bedroom as a playroom, an office and a home theater. If you want your oasis back, along with more relaxation, serenity and calm in your life, consider the following organizing hacks for your bedroom.

Keep the top of your dresser and nightstand clear. Open, clear spaces are restful for the eyes.

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Part 2 – Does the Thought of Tax Preparation Make You Panic?  You Are Not Alone

Organize your paperwork

Unless you are an accountant, for many of us, filing our tax returns ranks on the list of fun activities right next to root canals. Some of us get through this yearly chore one way or another and file our taxes by the deadline.

For others, it is not so easy. Many Americans who struggle with this deadline may end up paying hefty penalties for filing their taxes late or not at all. There could be many potential reasons for filing late, but for some, the reason is simply disorganization.

All over the United States families struggle with the volume of paper coming into the home. Catalogues, magazines, kids’ schoolwork and projects, work papers, receipts, oh and – mail, enter our homes daily.

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Get Your Paperwork Under Control This Month!

Organize paperwork

It’s January and that means it’s time to catch up on things like paperwork and bills. Time to pay that holiday credit card bill (ouch!) and finish up returns and exchanges. As you pay your bills and do your filing, you might notice how full your file cabinets have become over the past year. January is the perfect time to purge paper. Doing it now will not only help you feel in control, but with everything neatly filed, tax season will be a breeze!
Do you have a pile of old utility statements?

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Organizing Paperwork

Paperwork on a cluttered desk

Let’s Talk Paper! With the holiday season safely behind us, March is the best time of year to get all of our paperwork in order. These three things will help get you in ship shape: catch up on filing, clear out old files, and prepare documents for the tax season.

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