You Just Filed Your Taxes, Now What?

Consistent Data Formatting

Tax season just ended, and you probably filed your return with either the CRA or the IRS. So now what?

Even though you may be taking a deep sigh of relief that it’s over, don’t be too quick to celebrate. There are still a few things you can do to ensure that next year goes a bit more smoothly.

Here are 3 things you’ll want to keep in mind after you file your taxes.

Continue reading →You Just Filed Your Taxes, Now What?

How To Redact Sensitive Data In PDF Tax Documents

Performing Manual Calculations

Paying income taxes can be a real nightmare for some, but we all pay taxes in one form or another. For example, when you work at your job to make money, taxes are deducted from your pay. Also, when you make purchases at stores, some percentage of the cost you pay goes towards sales tax. The same thing goes for owning property — you pay property taxes. But, how did income taxes all start?

Continue reading →How To Redact Sensitive Data In PDF Tax Documents

8 Last Minute Resources To Help You With Your Tax Return

Filing Tax ReturnsAudits, tax payments, confusing forms—just three reasons why everyone hates tax season. And though you don’t need another, you can probably think of a few more yourself.  It’s hard to feel anything but dread this time of year.

So you do what you can to make things easier and cheaper. But even that has its drawbacks. For instance, if you decide to cut out the accountant and the fees, you may have to do some major research to properly file a tax return on your own.

That being said, if you aren’t too tax savvy, finding answers to your questions will be the real challenge. Of course, there is the IRS website for official directions and answers, which should be on the top of your list. Yet if you need some clarification or insight, what sources do you turn to at the 11th hour?

Try and see if a few of the following sites can help boil down the essentials for you. They come well-stocked with helpful, easy-to-read articles and credible writers that have extensive experience and knowledge in the field.

H&R Block TaxTips

The Tax Tips section of the H&R Block blog covers some of the most common topics including filing status, tax deductions, and tax refunds. This blog makes sure that you have the answers to all the basic questions on filing.

Intuit Accountants

As you may know, Intuit has been providing small businesses, accountants and individuals with tax preparation tools like QuickBooks. Fortunately, the accountants that use the software are highly active in helping their clients and each other with tax questions on both the blog and the online Intuit Accountants community. Sift through them with a few keywords and you’re likely to find a thread or post that can point you in the right direction.

TurboTax Blog

The TurboTax blog is also another good starting point for tax tips. If you’re a TurboTax user, you might be going through this blog already.  Topics you can find posts on include deductions, 401K, incomes and investments, home, education and a few more categories that can generate some of the most commonly asked tax questions.

About.com Tax

Because instructions and policies on filing taxes can be really confusing, a good idea is to start at the beginning. The About.com Tax section is filled with basic (and intermediate) tips for individuals, articles for business professionals, and even advice for tax preparers.  There’s a good list of Tax Planning categories to explore, so you’re bound to find the answers you need.

TaxGirl.com

Unlike most of us, Kelly Pillips Erb, tax attorney and tax writer/blogger is enthusiastic about taxes—and it shows! Her blog, TaxGirl.com, and column on Forbes.com are both all about explaining and discussing tax issues as well as covering news in the industry. Her insights and articles provide a lot of perspective that can help you make well-informed tax-filing decisions.

eSmartTax.com & Liberty Tax Service

eSmartTax.com is the online division of Liberty Tax Service, a  US-based tax preparation service. The site and content are easily accessible and provide you with tax related topics, discussions and resources. The main Liberty Tax Service site itself contains a good section on tax resources and posts on their Tax Lounge blog you can go through.

AccountingWeb.com

It was hard to pick one single blog from this roster, so we give you the full list. Like the Intuit Accountants community, AccountingWeb.com  is a good starting point for those needing the perspective of an accountant. All writers have their credentials and fields of expertise listed, so you can determine which professional might have the answers you need.

Tax Policy Center

This one makes the list for its authoritative value. Made up of experts with years of experience in tax, budget, and social policy, Tax Policy Center is focused on bringing you information on the policies behind the taxes you file. With an official library of publications, a dedicated blog,  and sections devoted to Tax Facts and Tax Topics, this site is hands down a must-visit resource.

Remember that these sites only provide you with extra information, not legal financial advice on preparing your taxes. Thus, while you may feel some anxiety about filing taxes on your own, it doesn’t mean you have to go into it unprepared.

This was a very short list for such a complex topic. If we missed one which you think should be on here, let us know by adding your own go-to resources in the comments!

Done Filing Your Taxes? Don’t Forget About Them Just Yet

The tax season is almost nearing to an end, and now that you have your taxes filed—or near to it for all you last minute filers, you may be sweeping everything tax-related under the rug until the next tax season rolls around.

But before you do, we wanted to give you a few last minute suggestions to make next year’s tax return even smoother than this year’s.

1. Keep Essential Records

In the midst of getting things ready for your taxes, did you miss out on any credit opportunities due to lack of documentation? Should anything happen to the necessary paper receipts over the year, you could lose out big time. For instance, if you’re filing for a home energy tax credit, you should keep the receipts on related purchases like insulation for more than a year.

Invest in a doc scanning app like Shoeboxed or Genius Scan which can be easily downloaded on your phone. This is perfect for when you’ve just made a qualifying purchase. Apps like the ones mentioned can instantly scan and export those newly created files to wherever you need them.

2. Get Your Forms Organized

The next step is to keep all those digital files and forms in one handy place. Keep all the necessary documents and records you need each year and save them in the PDF format. This includes your already filed tax returns and the forms that you used to fill out your tax return.

Note that the IRS can audit returns filed for the previous 3 years from the date you filed them. Moreover, if you made a mistake on your tax return, you can expect to wait anywhere from 2-3 months for a tax amendment to be processed.

So keep all forms in one place. Get them into an app you can use specifically for this purpose. PDF document managers such as Mendeley, Zotero, and Quiqqa are just a few dedicated file managers will go above and beyond your needs. They can easily tag and categorize your files. This will put all the necessary records at your fingertips if you need the documents to back up your claim.

3. Keep A Research Folder

Another good thing to do is keep an on-going research folder. Being informed is the best strategy to have when your income is at stake. There are many fine print details that are often overlooked.

With the Internet making it super easy to make money online, for example, you can easily miss the things you have to pay taxes on. This may apply to you if you’re a blogger, an ebay seller, a Bitcoin holder or have a hobby that generates income.

To make it easier for you next year, start keeping track now. Record the odds and ends of any endeavor you pursue which starts to earn you some income. When collecting information on tax policies, bookmark your sources and follow authoritative tax and or accounting sites. And this is where tools especially made for note-taking and web clipping will come in handy.

If you set up a good system, you don’t have to go blind trying to scour the web or your computer for resources. So don’t forget about your taxes just yet. Putting in a little effort now will pay off later and reduce the amount of stress when you need it most!

Integrating Sonic PDF Creator Into Your Tax Season Routine

Tax season is nearing an end, and you’ve probably gone through your share of the some of the traditional ups and downs of filing taxes.

For instance, there’s that first phase where you procrastinate, thinking you’ve got all the time in the world to get your taxes done.  After procrastinating long enough, you get to that stage where you scramble around to dig up all the necessary documents, receipts, and forms together.

After that comes the panicking stage, when you find every accountant is fully booked and the queue for H&R Block is full with just 1 day left. And after turning to DIY tax software tools and beating those lineups, you get to the frustrating phase of organizing and getting everything filed away on your computer.

While Investintech can’t file your taxes for you, Sonic PDF Creator, which you may already have, can help you deal with the overflow of digital files. Here are some ideas on how you can integrate Sonic PDF Creator into your tax season routine.

Keeping Your Data Safe: Locking and Securing Tax Related PDF Files

With all sorts of information being scanned over and transferred onto computers, being efficient and mindful of your digital documents is important. This is especially true when most of those scanned in documents contain sensitive information.

Fortunately, Sonic has a variety of security features that can help you customize how you want your tax related files secured. To secure them as PDF files,

  1. Open your PDF file in Sonic PDF Creator.
  2. Click on the Create Secure PDF From File icon on the Toolbar. Or, select Create Secure PDF from the File menu
  3. Click the Browse button to select a file.
  4. Find the file from which you want to create a PDF (Note: the PDF is created according to the Creation Options settings found under the View menu)
  5. Edit the document properties for PDF CompatibilityTitle, Author, Subject, and  Keywords. Click on Next
  6. Choose your level of encryption from either 40 or 128 -bit encryption
  7. Type in a User password for the Open Document field, and a Master password in the Change Permissions and passwords text field
  8. Choose the Permissions you want attached to the file by clicking on the checkboxes beside each option.
  9. Click on the Create PDF button at the bottom 

Organizing Files Made Easy: Creating An All-in-One PDF

The one burden about filing income taxes is that you need other forms and documents to do so, forms and documents that can easily pile up in a folder.  One solution you can try is to keep tax related documents (scanned receipts, invoices, investment reports) together by adding them as attachments to your main PDF form. This comes in handy if you want to keep those supplementary and necessary documents within easy reach.

To do this in Sonic PDF Creator,

  1. Open your main PDF file
  2. Click on the Attach a file icon from the Command Toolbar
  3. Browse and select the files you wish to attach. Click on Open
  4. You’ll be able to see your files attached at the bottom in the Attachment window. If you can’t see the Attachment window, go to the View menu and select Attachment Window

 

Being Efficient & Ecofriendly: Cutting Down On Wasted Paper

In some cases, there are some PDF tax forms that come with lengthy instructions included in the file. Once printed up, the portion of the form is usually torn off, filled out, and sent in.  Instead of printing out the entire file, whynot separate the forms from the instructions by extracting PDF pages?

To do this,

  1. Open your PDF and Click on the Extract Pages icon on the Command Toolbar
  2. In the sidebar,  specify the Page Range to extract from the PDF
  3. If you’d like to keep thesepages, select the Split Output to Several Files option. Specify your settings and options for the pages being extracted
  4. If you wish to delete the pages, click on the Delete pages after extracting checkbox

 

Quick Bonus Tip:

Plan on keeping those tax form instructions for easy reference as you go along? Make an entire reference PDF file.  You can use bookmarks to give the file structure, allowing you to distinguish which tax form each section of instructions belongs to. Sonic’s Add Bookmarks option will let you set them yourself easily.

 

Try and explore some other creative ways of dealing with tax related PDF files yourself and let us know what you come up with!