“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.”

– Clint Eastwood

How was your long weekend? Hey–whatever your opinion about labor unions, I think we all appreciate an extra “day off” now and then (though, as with many business owners, my “day off” wasn’t exactly just burgers and the pool…working hard on getting ready for tax season around here)!

Yes, as you may have heard, “Labor Day” originated during the time of 7-day workweeks of 12-hour days, in the late 1800’s, as our country was in the throes of the Industrial Revolution. Times have certainly changed since then–and our economy is no longer driven by the manufacturing jobs of the past.

Now, it’s about *knowledge*…and that’s why I take the time each week to inform YOU about the “real world” steps you should be taking with your family’s finances, and how to be prepared for any circumstance.

Including the upcoming tax season–it’ll be here sooner than you think!

I’ve put together a simple primer on what you should be pulling together, but the BEST way to be prepared is to have a conversation now about proactive strategy to minimize your burden. January through April may be “tax season”, but September-October is “tax planning season”.

How To Prepare For Tax Season Well

Believe it or not, now is the time to start making sure that you’ll be ready for a few months from now, and tax time is upon us!

Generally speaking, you should keep any and all documents that may have an impact on your federal tax return. Individual taxpayers should usually keep the following records supporting items on their tax returns for at least three years:

“¢ Bills, Credit card and other receipts

“¢ Invoices, Mileage logs

“¢ Canceled, imaged or substitute checks or any other proof of payment

“¢ Any other records to support deductions or credits you claim on your return. You should normally keep records relating to property until at least three years after you sell or otherwise

dispose of the property. Examples include…

*A home purchase or improvement

*Stocks and other  investments;

*IRA transactions

*Rental property records

If you are a small business owner, you must keep all your employment tax records for at least four years after the tax  becomes due or is paid, whichever is later. Examples of important documents business owners should keep include:

“¢ Gross receipts: Cash register tapes, bank deposit slips, receipt books, invoices, credit card charge slips and Forms 1099-MISC

“¢ Proof of purchases: Canceled checks, cash register tape receipts, credit card sales slips and invoices

“¢ Expense documents: Canceled checks, cash register tapes, account statements, credit card sales slips, invoices and petty cash slips for small cash payments

“¢ Documents to verify your assets: Purchase and sales invoices, real estate closing statements and canceled checks

Here’s the best part of all of this: By pulling together this information NOW, we can do our “magic” and ensure that we aren’t simply playing catch-up for you after the fact. That’s what tax planning is all about. So…

I’m personally dedicated to the success of your family–and to your finances! Can other tax professionals say that?