Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Being Organized Takes the Sting Out of Tax Time

Whether we like it or not it’s time to file your taxes. Even if an expert files them for you, it is still your responsibility to get the information together. Are you feeling the pain involved with this annual necessity?

Important dates to remember:
• Income tax returns for individuals are due April 30, 2010
• Any tax monies owed are due April 30, 2010

If you are married, living common law or have a family, it is important to file your taxes together to receive the best advantage of all qualifying deductions and credits such as college tuition, child care expenses and medical costs.

A few simple reminders to save you money:
• If you plan to seek expert advice during the tax season, look early
• If using an expert, bring everything related to your taxes, including last year’s information
• Have a system to separate all your paperwork- this could be envelopes, an accordion file or file folders
• After you have organized your papers and receipts in categories, flatten them out and have them upright to save time for you or the expert. Save money by having your papers in order or get one of your older children to do this task. Why pay expert rates to flatten documents and put receipts in a readable manner?

Important dates to remember:
• If you are self employed but not incorporated, the deadline for filing your personal income tax is June 15, 2010
• Any tax monies owed are due by April 30, 2010

If you are a business owner, remember that everything that pertains to your business is an expense. If it is helpful and appropriate for your business, you can claim it. Keep receipts when you entertain clients and employees. Keep information about the engagement such as a guest list, business discussed or new business relationships.

Sort all proof of income, print all invoices and remittance statements so you and/or your tax expert knows how much money has come in and out of your business account.

If you own a business and are keeping your own books, electronic programs such as Simply Accounting or QuickBooks may be an option for you. If your business is not as complicated an excel spreadsheet will work fine. Keep a receipts file near your desk and schedule a time once a week to place them in the appropriate folder. Keep a mileage log in your car to keep track of kilometers, parking and bridge tokens. A mileage log is a requirement if you are audited.

If you do not already have a system in place, label folders into categories appropriate to your business. Begin by labeling and organizing:
• General information- such as social insurance number, birthdates, addresses and your tax return from last year
• Travel- your mileage log and day to day business and travel expenses
• Donations- receipts for charitable donations
• Supplies and Equipment- receipts for supply and equipment expenses, bills from the phone company, power company and all bills paid to keep your office operating
• Invoices- marketing, printing, continuing education, professional development, mail and courier costs, pertaining to your business
• Payroll- copies of invoices, cheques and hours for your reference
• Auto- monthly payments, maintenance, upgrades and upkeep of your vehicle
• Medical Expenses- keep records of drug purchases, insurance plan payments and receipts from clinics
• Entertaining- make sure you note on the receipt who and what the purpose

Tax time will be less painful with a few simple steps to plan for next year.
Further information can be obtained on the Canada Revenue Agency website at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Eight Tips that Make Filing Business Income Taxes Easy

There are many great things about having your own businesses. Filing your taxes isn’t one of them. So here are eight quick tips that you can use to make filing your taxes easier and less time consuming:

- Remember that if you are self employed but not incorporated, your deadline for filing your return is June 15. Any taxes owed are due by April 30.

- You can claim any expense that is related to or helpful to your business. Keep receipts when you buy equipment or entertain clients and employees. When entertaining, write up information about the engagement such as a guest list or business discussed.

- Sort all proof of income and print all invoices and remittance statements. This way, you and your tax expert know how much money has come in and out of your business account.

- If you are keeping your own books, consider using accounting software such as Simply Accounting or QuickBooks. In some cases, an Excel spreadsheet will work fine.

- File your receipts, invoices and proof of income in folders. Label each folder by category such as travel, entertainment, supplies and invoices.

- Keep a receipts file near your desk and schedule a time once a week to place them in the appropriate folder.

- Keep a mileage log in your car to track kilometers driven, plus parking and bridge tokens. A mileage log is a requirement if you are audited.

- Visit the Canada Revenue Agency website at for quick answers to common tax return questions, or contact them at 1-800-959-5525.

If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to others who would find it useful and sign up for our Organize Anything newsletter on our homepage at © 2010 Colette Robicheau

Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Organize Anything Announces Top 10 List of Best Organizing Products

Are you tired of being disorganized? Bored of clutter? Now that we are well into 2010, it’s time to get organized to make it the most productive year ever. Organize Anything has compiled a list of favourite items that make the lives of people easier – in the home, at work, while travelling or during leisure time. Get organized with Organize Anything’s Top 10 List of Best Organizing Products!

1. Staple-less stapler: The staple-less stapler will take the hassle out of trying to take the staples out of paper to shred of recycle. Instead of using bent pieces of metal to lock paper, the staple-less stapler cuts tiny flaps, bends them, and weaves them back through a notch to bind pages together. You will never have to refill the stapler and the pages will be much easier to separate. The pages are much easier to separate than if they were stapled together, and look much more professional when you do separate them.

2. The Point It: Traveller's Language Kit: Point It is a passport sized picture dictionary that contains 1200 photos generated from the author's own travels to over 100 different countries. If you're travelling abroad and don't speak the language, Point It allows you to point to the item you are in need of instead of hauling out your dictionary or phrase book, searching for the correct term, and then trying to pronounce the word correctly. Point It also comes as an application for your iPhone or iPodTouch.

3. Butler Bags: The Classic Butler Bag was designed to bring fashion and function together. No more wasting time by searching or digging for your phone or keys! It fits more than you ever imagined, all in an organized fashion. It is the perfect bag to carry you through from day to night, with everything you carry in perfect order. Remember, the more organized it is, the more you can fit in it!

4. 3M Hooks with Command™ Adhesive: 3M Hooks make it easy to organize and decorate. 3M hooks are easy to set up – you just stick the tab on the back of the hook, and then stick it to the wall. You can take them down and move them without leaving any marks. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be used in almost any room.

5. Time Timer: The TimeTimer times time! You can set it when you need limits on things- like you are only going to work for half an hour on a Saturday, or you are only going to take a 20 minutes nap. It saves you from setting an alarm, setting the wrong time or worrying about the power going out.

6. Dymo LabelWriter 400 Turbo: With the Dymo LabelWriter you don’t have to waste countless pages – or time loading the pages - just to get one label. It uses thermal paper, so you never have to worry about running out of ink or changing a cartridge. It is small and compact and can sit right on your desk. The Dymo LabelWriter is compatible with most digital address books, making it convenient to print address labels.

7. Avery® PocketTabs™: PocketTabs are great if you are at a conference or for students. You just peel off the back and stick it on a page in your binder; it acts as both a divider and storage space. You can put business cards you collect, flyers, small notes, change or your room key in the pouch- it can save you from lugging around a purse or a wallet.

8. neatfreak! closetMAX System: Most women – and some men – suffer from the problem of lack of space in their closet. Hangers tend to get caught, or clothes slip off them, and things just end up a mess. The closetMAX system tidies up and saves space. Organizers like this because you can fold your sweaters, displaying them neatly and avoiding wrinkles, and still have plenty of space in your closet. Items like these are also available for shoes!

9.Rubbermaid Lock-its: With Rubbermaid Lock-its the lids snap on the top securely to avoid spills, so you can throw them in your bag or in the fridge and not have to worry about a mess. The lids also secure on the bottom, so you have a more organized cupboard and don’t have to worry about ever losing the lid.

10. Stadium File: This is ideal for clearing clutter from your workspace or countertop. You can set it on your countertop and use it to file paper, mail, schoolwork or even children’s artwork. The pockets are tiered and fixed so the papers don't fall to the bottom of the file.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Picture-Perfect Advice for Sorting and Storing your Photos

Photographs are a great way to remember special occasions, but it’s not always easy to keep them sorted. Here are a few tips you can follow when printing or picking up your snapshots that will help you organize and protect your precious moments:

Go through your photos and discard the blurry or unappealing shots and duplicates. Or consider giving duplicates as gifts to friends or family.

Using a photo-safe pen, label and date the back of each photo. This will help you to recall the events and people in your snapshots years from now.

Make a fun night of it with friends – have them assist you in organizing your photos. It may even help you remember stories you have forgotten or faces you don’t recognize.

Don’t have time to label each photo now? Place them in a labelled, dated envelope and file it in a storage container.

Once you have your photos labelled, decide how you want to sort them – chronologically or based on special dates and events – and place them in labelled, acid-free photo albums. Only buy photo albums after you have organized your photos. This way, you’ll know how many you need and you won’t have empty albums lying around for months.

As you sort your snapshots, set aside any photos that you want to have framed. This will save you time trying to find them later.

Want to remember something unique about a particular photo? Write or print out index cards with details about the picture and file them together in your photo album.

To keep your negatives safe, place them in a labelled envelope in a fireproof box. Make a note in the related photo album so you know where to find your negatives if you need them.

Able to load your photos to your computer? There are programs you can buy to help you organize them. You can also back them up on a CD or memory card, which should be kept in a safety deposit box for added protection.

Overwhelmed by the thought of organizing photos? Start with the set you just had developed and keep organizing with each new set. For older photos, it’s best to take on the task in multiple sessions. When you feel you’ve done enough, pack everything up and plan for the next opportunity.

© 2010 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.