Don’t Get Stuck in a Shoebox This Tax Season

Natalie O'Connor —  February 18, 2015 — Leave a comment


When I was a child, my mom collected shoeboxes. Big boxes, tall boxes, small boxes, etc. Their varying sizes made them a great storage option.

My parents own a slew of vending machines in and around my hometown and keeping track of their expenses during the year was never a huge priority. As a result, my mom finds the best-priced soda at one store then travels to the next, even if it’s only because she has a coupon for potato chips. She had receipts from Sam’s Club (a retail warehouse), gas stations, grocery stores, and more. It’s a lot of driving and even more receipts.

As spring would roll around, the whole family piled in the van (each carrying a shoebox) and made our way to the tax man’s (a close family friend) house. Here, we had a blast. The weather was getting warmer and days, a little longer. My siblings and I would jump on their trampoline, hang out in the hot tub, and run around the yard for hours. As the sun set, I was ready to go home. What was taking SO long?!

What I didn’t know was that those shoeboxes were filled with receipts and my parents’ accountant had the never-ending task of itemizing each one. Not only that, but add in vehicle mileage calculation and you have yourself a full day nightmare.

Accountants Are People Too

As tax season approaches, it is important to remember the relationship with your accountant is an important one. Showing up with shoeboxes full of receipts is one of the worst things you can do.

So if you’re one of the thousands of people who haven’t done a single thing to prepare your records for your accountant, there is still hope. Although, it might be too late this year, we can offer a few words of advice for next year.

  1. Out With the Old
    The least you can do for your accountant is to sort through your own receipts and ditch the ones you know don’t pertain to the current tax season. Hold onto everything that should be included for next year and shred the rest.
  2. Home Office Expenses
    Most people forget to keep track of expenses inside their home, but if you’re regularly meeting clients there, you can claim certain expenses. For example, utilities, repairs, insurance, and maintenance are all expenses that you should keep track of. By creating a report in the Expensify app directly associated with your home office expenses, you can itemize bills each month. Each bill you receive can be tracked on the report and easily exported for your accountant at the end of the year.
  3. Mileage
    If you own a car and use it for business purposes, keeping track of mileage is very important. You can calculate operating costs by taking the sum of your loan interest, lease costs, gas, repairs, maintenance, and insurance and dividing it by your total mileage. The Expensify app has a great mileage feature that can help you track all year!
  4. Everyday Tracking
    Expensify was made for everyday tracking. Each business-related purchase should be tracked shortly after the receipt is received. Once you’ve decided Expensify is your solution, organizing receipts you’ve been compiling from the start of the year is the best place to start. SmartScan these receipts and toss them.

Next Year, Best Year!

Now that you have learned how to keep your accountant happy and make their life easier during tax season, you’re both on your way to a better next year. Although trampoline jumping, hot tubbing, and yard running are super fun, tracking daily expenses for a shorter visit is better ideal. Your accountant and children will thank you later.

Need more tax organizing tips for the new year? Check out some of these additional tips to help you out!

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