This week's challenge: Get going on your TAXES!


Ugh, Taxes! Am I right? (Yeah, I’m right.)

Like the saying goes,

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” -Ben Franklin

It’s unavoidable, so let’s get started.

If you are anything like me, once you start a task (especially one that you dread doing) it goes a lot faster and is usually less painful than you expected. Just starting takes away all the pressure!

So your challenge this week is to get started on your taxes

You likely already know what the first step is, but here are some prompts to get you going:

  • Find all your w-2s and 1099s
  • Download statements for your student loans
  • Download statements from your investments/real estate
  • Find all those boxes of receipts (!!!)
  • Start typing stuff into your software
  • Pick up the phone and call your accountant

Let us know what the first thing you need to do this week is.

And please leave any words of encouragement for those (like me) who dread this time of year. What tips and tricks do you have for making tax time a breeze?


Unfortunately none of my W2 or 1099’s are ready yet, nor the 1098 for the mortgage. I only wish I could get going this early! I usually have to wait until February for everything to get sent to me.

If you’re looking for a good deal on tax software, Bogleheads has a good thread looking for the best prices.

So I think for this week my goal would be to secure the tax software.


I absolutely hate taxes! This may be the first year I use a CPA because I’m trying to set up a side business.

For those with fidelity account, you may be eligible to get turbotax premier for free.


None of my documents are ready yet, but I’ve already added up all of my spouse’s receipts (he’s a contractor) and drafted our returns, pending receipt of my actual documents before finalization.

I’m an accountant, so I had this all done literally the first day that our firm got our 2016 tax software, because I live for this stuff.


I have everything ready to go. Now the waiting game on the mail and all the statements that need to come in…


I’m so ready for this! I do my own tax projections several times a year, so I have a pretty good idea already of what our tax liability will be. I do need to gather up all my official tax statements as they come in.
I organize my finances throughout the year to make tax time easy:
-I track my income in my budget at the gross level and then subtract out income and payroll tax withholding so I always have a total of taxes withheld to date and a projection of the rest of the year’s tax withholding
-I use separate categories and tags for my tax items in my budget so I always have the totals to date (including tax deductible charitable donations, property taxes, rental activity)

  • I keep an electronic folder titles “current year taxes” where I put in all my tax-related receipts during the year
    -I check my income tax withholding several times to make sure we won’t owe additional amounts at tax time (generally I do this after a big raise or bonus and then at the end of November).


Taxes are pretty simple here where I’m at, as long as I only have “regular” means of income to report (salary+interests+dividends). All I have to do is to check that everything’s reported correctly from all institutions, and that the tax office has registered everything correctly then the calculation arrives sometime later this year.

I have already calculated my taxes for 2016, and know what my return will be, so pretty much just have to double check the tax office’s calculations. Tax season is far more taxing :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: at work, as I’m involved in (responsible for) all finances, including accounting and payroll! It’ll come in handy when I eventually launch my own business though, I’m sure :slight_smile:


I hate having to wait for all of those things to come! But I do love having it all in hand and calculating it myself to guess what the damage will be before sending it over to my accountant. Last year I was within $100… pretty good, in my book!


I’m going to have to defer this challenge to the first week of July, when the Aussie tax season starts. However, I have a folder with all deductible receipts in it, so I’m getting ready for the week as we speak!

Out of interest, do Americans get tax returns?


We are meeting our tax preparer on Weds to get the process started. As we are self-employed, we got our business expenses & potential deductions all tallied up over Christmas break until our 1099s and investment forms arrive.


Yes. I would say most families get a return of some sort. Those that have to “pay in” are normally families with high incomes near $100,000 without many deductions (i.e. their children have grown up & moved away or no mortgage interest to claim).

I’m not a tax preparer, but, this is just from talking with work colleagues over the years.


Great first step. We may have jumped the gun on this Tax Challenge by a week or two, but it seems like there is always something you can do to get started, even before you’ve got all the paperwork!


I hate taxes too!!! This will be the first full year we had someone taking care of our books and taxes for the entire year. So far it’s been a huge help. Just one more thing off my plate that I hated dealing with anyway.


Wow. That’s amazing you are so on top of things!
It must make things so much easier and faster come tax time, right?

What categories and tags do you use for your tax items?


Wow, that’s pretty good. I wonder how many people hit it right on the head and owe $0.00?
I guess it’s possible and would have to happen to a few thousand people each year, right?


Some people owe, some get a return. Just depends on if you’ve over paid or under paid.


My wife and I are self-employed too.

I emailed my tax person about home office usage and childcare stuff just to get the ball rolling.

We are waiting on some papers from clients and some people we employed this year before we can hand everything over to our tax person.

There’s always something to do!


Same here! I never get all my info mailed to me until February! It always amazes me how people can get things ready so early.


To be clear, I guessed our refund by within $100… I did not predict well enough to only have $100 in refund or owing… I’m not THAT good! :slight_smile: This year, I think we’re going to owe quite a bit. Whoops.


I totally do this as well-I found a huge mistake they made on our return this past year because I ran my own numbers.