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10 Tax Preparation Tips

Hey Collectors! It’s that time of the year again! Are you overwhelmed by filing your taxes? Not sure where to start? Have you been procrastinating about doing your taxes because you are having a hard time finding your necessary documents? Do you have stacks of mail piled up with important papers mixed in with junk mail and other bills?
Is your mail piling up?
Check out my ten favorite tax preparation tips to help you get those returns filed!

1. Start early. You’ll receive tax forms from employers and banking institutions by January 31. Begin gathering everything you’ll need to file as soon as possible.
 
2. Hire a professional organizer. If your home office is overflowing with paper clutter, hire an organizer to help you gather all your important documents and prepare your tax information to be sent to an accountant. A professional organizer can also help you take in donations to charities and provide you with the tax deductible receipt.
 
3. Income.  When determining whether you need to file a return, you don’t include tax-exempt income. In 2017 for example, if you are under age 65 and single, you must file a tax return if you earn $10,400 or more, which is the sum of the 2017 standard deduction for a single taxpayer plus one exemption.
 
4. Make a checklist. Include all the information and documents you need to gather like:
  • Personal information and previous tax returns
  • Information and income for everyone in your household
  • Income from W-2 forms
  • Self-employment income and expenses; 1099 and K-1 forms
  • Education scholarships, loans and interest paid
  • Divorce decree and alimony paid
  • Vehicle expenses such as the cost of parking and tolls
  • Income from rentals or other sources like unemployment, gambling, alimony, etc.
  • Income from retirement, savings and investments
 
5. Itemize deductions only if it’s more beneficial than a standard deduction. If itemizing deductions, you’ll need:
  • Form 1098 or other mortgage statements
  • State and local income tax paid (other than wage withholding)
  • Real estate and personal property tax records
  • Invoice showing amount of vehicle sales tax paid
  • HUD statement showing closing date of home purchase
  • Cash amounts donated to charitable organizations
  • Healthcare costs
  • Expenses related to investments
  • Job search costs and employment-related expenses
 
6. Avoid the top three most common tax errors:
  1. Claiming incorrect estimated tax payments.
  2. Deducting the wrong amount for the standard or itemized deductions.
  3. Selecting the wrong amount of tax from the tax table on paper tax returns.
 
7. Can’t file by April 15? No problem. All taxpayers get an automatic six-month filing extension to October 15. The extension is only for filing tax returns and not for payment of any taxes that may be due. Be sure to pay the total tax due by April 15 to avoid penalties and interest.
 
8. Don’t miss out on a return because you moved. Each year, the U.S. Post Office returns millions of dollars in refund checks as undeliverable. This is generally because taxpayers moved after they filed their taxes. The post office does not forward refund checks. Notify the IRS immediately of a change of address.
9. When to expect your refund:
  1. E-file return: Refunds are processed within seven to ten business days. Direct deposit refunds will reach your bank account within five to seven business days.
  2. Paper return: Direct deposit refunds for paper returns are deposited in six to eight weeks.

10. Reinvest your refund. Instead of spending your refund check on department store sales, invest it in an IRA or deposit it in your savings account. Your future self will thank you. 

Do you need help getting your paperwork together? Hire a Collector Care Professional Organizer to help you get through the daunting task of going through all of and shredding your paperwork.  We will sit by your side and go through it all together, no joke. Is your garage packed with paperwork? Bring it on! We sort through paperwork in bulk regularly and we enjoy it. If your paperwork scares you – don’t face it alone. 925-548-7750.

Want more tips about the new tax reform? Check out this article here :2017 Tax Reform Legislation – What you should know

4 Tips For Living Room Bliss

Hey Collectors! Your living room should be the place where you relax and unwind, but most days it feels like a chaotic catch-all. Disorder and chaos in your home can have a negative affect on your emotions. Take a look at your cluttered space. How does it make you feel? 

Does your mind feel cluttered?

Do you feel drained of energy?

Do you feel overwhelmed or depressed?

We have all been there. Clutter causes unnecessary stress in your life. Getting rid of the clutter helps you feel better emotionally and physically.

But where do I start?” Good question! The best way to get started is to get started.  These 4 easy tips to will help you bring order to your living space, or any room in your home.

organized living room

(1) Take a moment, stand in your living room, and turn off all the background noise. Visualize what your living space would look like if there was no clutter. Imagine how you want your space to function.

(2) Now look around and determine what items don’t belong. Grab those items and put them in their rightful place. Don’t worry about organizing them right now, just get them in the right location.

(3) Back to the living room. Discard anything that is broken or is trash. Are you really going to get that old DVD player fixed? Toss it. Then gather items you will donate, take them to your car and remember to actually take them to the donation center on your next trip.

(4) Tackle the remaining items by grouping like items together and organize them one at a time.

Being organized does not mean you have to get rid of everything. If your living room doubles as a playroom, you don’t have to get rid of your children’s toys. Place a container in the living room to corral all their stuff. Storage ottomans work well for this. Your living area is your living area. Make the space work for how you live.

Remember Collectors,  “Happiness is a place between too little and too much.” —Finnish Proverb

Need help getting organized? Hire one or two of our skilled professional organizers to help you get your project done! Have company coming over? Give us a call, we will have your place picked up in a jiffy!!! www.collectorcare.com 925-548-7750 help@collectorcare.com

#collectorCareCares #professionalOrganizer #organizing #clutter #livingRoom #tips #blog

Professional Organizer Tips – Interview with Peter Walsh

Hey Collectors, and Professional Organizers!

It’s GET ORGANIZED Month! And in spirit of being a Professional Organizer I wanted to share this blog post from the past. I interviewed Peter Walsh in the beginning of my career and STILL find his advice helpful! Here’s the scoop:

You may have seen this handsome Australian American on the TLC hit show “Extreme Clutter”, or heard his enchanting voice on the radio. He is a compassionate helper, an amazing organizer and absolutely the kindest for allowing me to interview him on our blog. Folks, let’s get a round of applause for Peter Walsh!

Peter Walsh

Rachel:  At this moment in time, who would you most like to get (free) advice from and why?

Peter: Hmm – great question! I’d like to get free advice from any social media guru and I’m sure there are things in that domain that I could be doing more effectively.

Rachel:  Define success and name a few people you think are successful.

Peter: I think that many people forego success and happiness because when it arrives it doesn’t look the way they expected it to look. I think success has to be defined as being firmly in the present with a balanced and reasonable set of expectations. From this perspective, then, success is something that is first achieved internally and not assessed by external criteria. So, for me, another person’s success is determined by them, not by me.

Rachel: I’m a new business owner trying to grow my organizing business. What are 3 things you wish you’d done differently when you first started your organizing business?

Peter: I wish I’d spoken with more professional organizers to get some broader perspectives on the profession. I wish I’d embraced social media earlier and more aggressively.

I wish I’d realized that 20% of a job usually takes 80% of the effort.

Rachel: By my standards you are a very successful person; a brand. Would you share some of the types of support you have in place to keep the Peter Walsh brand going strong?

Peter: Sure – I have a very clear vision for my brand, what it is, what it represents and how it presents itself. I call this ‘brand intention’. I don’t do anything that doesn’t align with that. I answer every email that comes to me myself. I delegate wherever possible. I make every effort to work with and to employ people who are much smarter than I am.

As well as his work on TV he has written a few best-selling books about clutter and organization. His first (and favorite) is “It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff”. He is now also designing some cool organizational products and hosting a national radio program. This all keeps him busy when he is not travelling or helping people turn their clutter and chaos into calm.

Peter Walsh And 10 Tips To Declutter Your Home!

How to Keep Your House Clutter-Free

Tackle messes one room at a time.

When you buy something new, practice the “in-out rule:” For every one new item, get rid of an old one.

Create intimacy in the master bedroom. Remember that improvements in one room can spread to the rest of the house.

Make cleaning up fun for your kids.

Create a vision for the room you’re cleaning.

Teach your kids how to sort.

Use a hanger system to determine which clothes you wear most.

Ask yourself if you really need something. If you hesitate, you don’t.

Establish a “magic triangle” in your kitchen between the stove, refrigerator and the sink. Keep the items you use most in that area.

Identify useful utensils with the cardboard box test.

This information was featured on the Oprah show.

Are you interested in becoming a professional organizer? Not sure where to begin?
Rachel Seavey offers experienced business coaching that will help fast track your career into the world of becoming a professional organizer. Email Rachel directly at rachel@collectorcare.com, or for more information and rates check out our SHOP page.