Sunday, March 30, 2014

Master Lock Eases Tax Season Stress With Sweepstakes and Tips For Organized Filing - Giveaway

I will be receiving product for review. Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services. Your opinions and results may differ. Master Lock is not a legal, tax or accounting advisor, and the information in this post should not be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice. Master Lock recommends that consumers consult a professional advisor for advice concerning specific tax or other matters.

On average, Americans spend 13 hours filing their taxes, and nearly half of that time is dedicated to record keeping. Master Lock is providing consumers with tips to make filing less taxing this year, which include how to go digital with documents, password storage and more.

One of these tools is the Master Lock Vault, a safe and secure online storage and organization system. As an added bonus for taxpayers this year, consumers across the U.S. (and Canada) will have a chance to win one of five, $1,000 prizes when they register for a Vault account as part of the Master Lock “Tax Relief Rewards” Sweepstakes.

Follow these five tips to help you get organized to file your taxes this season:

1. Get your wages in order.

When the new year rolls around, begin thinking about your past year's employment. Whether you're self-employed, an independent contractor or an employee, there are certain forms you need to submit to properly file your income. Employers are required to provide all employees a Form W-2 showing how much was earned, how much was taxable and what taxes were withheld from your wages. If you have more than one job, a Form W-2 is required from each employer. However, if you're an independent contractor a Form 1099 is required from companies you worked for to show gross earnings. Those who are self-employed require a bit more work. Before filing, make sure all receipts and documentation for business-related expenses are in order -- mileage records, office equipment and supplies, utility bills, etc.

2. Go digital.

Avoid the mess of a mound of paperwork from income wages, to auto and home loans, gifts to charity and more by storing -- and organizing -- all of your tax-related documents digitally. Scan documents and upload as you go through your paperwork, then shred and recycle the hard copies. Even if you opt to keep hard copies, a digital back-up is an important safeguard should your paper documents ever be lost, misplaced, stolen or damaged. By utilizing a free, secure service such as the Master Lock Vault (www.masterlockvault.com) you'll have easy access to all of your files wherever you are. Not only can you upload PDF forms, but you can upload photos from your phone of important receipts and expenses for your records. All data is instantly synchronized between the website and the App. Bonus: securely store log-in information for your bank accounts and tax filing site in the Master Lock Vault so you'll never have to worry about forgetting your username or password.

3. Devise a filing system.

Whether you've upgraded to a digital storage solution or are preparing your hard copies for the switch, it's important to decide how to group your paperwork and documents together -- digitally or physically. It's helpful to group all income statements, documents and necessary forms together as well as paid invoices or other evidence of income. Next, all your deductions should be stored in one place -- mortgage interest payments, property taxes, charitable gifts and medical bills. Finally, keep track of and file or scan all receipts in one place and organize your receipts by type, for example: bills, travel, utilities, insurance, fuel costs, etc. Most importantly, once you devise a filing system, remember to do the easiest thing -- use it!

4. Decide how to file.

If you choose to do your own taxes, deciding on a software service can be difficult, and for married or recently married couples, deciding to file jointly or separately can be a hard decision. However, one of the more important decisions is whether or not to electronically file. With U.S. e-filing becoming more and more popular, faster, safer and generally more convenient than paper, the biggest benefit to electronic filing is that you will receive a confirmation within 24 hours that the IRS has received your tax return. The confirmation can give many taxpayers a sigh of relief knowing that the IRS has received it, accepted it and is beginning to process your paperwork. If something goes wrong, a rejection will be sent within 24 hours and will tell you how to fix it. What's more is that when you electronically file, the IRS issues refunds within 21 days if you're eligible for one. For more information on how to electronically file, visit: http://www.irs.gov/Filing.

5. Prepare for next year.

Once you've nailed down a filing system, remember to think taxes year-round. It's much easier to pick up already-filed papers or digital folder than go through billing statements, piles of papers and online accounts to gather your documents for next year. It's also important to keep up with changes in tax laws for the new tax year to ensure your documents are in line. If you use a tax preparer, now might be the time to discuss where you could net out next year. Changes in marital status or dependents may impact what you could expect to pay or receive as a refund next year, and if you're self-employed or handle accounting for a business, now might be the time to make a major purchase or sell equipment.
Win It!

One person will win a Master Lock 7148D Document Storage Box.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

117 comments:

Nancy said...

No, we do not procrastinate. We get the task done in a timely manner.

Nancy
allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Kelly Tupick said...

No, we do not procrastinate when it comes to getting out taxes done. We get them done fairly early.

ababe28 said...

I usually don't, but this year I still haven't done it...
Ann B.

pmj said...

I have been a big 'ol procrastinater! This year I was on it!

VickeC said...

oh no,we get ours filed as soon as we can

Candice said...

I usually procrastinate since I hate doing them, and know I won't be getting a big refund.

Gala said...

My husband is tryuing to do them as soon as possible

sparkedcat said...

I try to do mine as soon as possible.

bison61 said...

yes we do procrastinate

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

rubynreba said...

We get them done as soon as possible.

Catie said...

I usually do my taxes right away, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet this year!

Summer said...

We get them done as soon as possible.

mecarolks said...

I usually procrastinate.

Kayla @ TheEclecticElement said...

As a person who will probably end up filing taxes this next year, I REALLY appreciate these tips, especially since I "work" for myself. Every little bit helps for this tax newbie!

I'll probably try to get things done asap :)

Thank you for this great opportunity!

Heather! said...

I always *intend* to get them done early...but it NEVER happens that way. Ugh.

Alexis AKA MOM said...

I'm a consultant so I have to pay heavily every year. YUP still not done them.

Em Ma said...

I procrastinate - wish I didn't, I need to work on that.

Ronalee said...

We are tax geeks and get them done right away.

Synaptrix777 said...

I did tend to procrastinate, but my mother-in-law works for the state and is so on top of things like that - I don't procrastinate anymore, lol.
alona y

Stephanie K. said...

Nope, done as soon as possible :) It helps that we have a CPA in the family so it's easier to not procrastinate!

tammy said...

I procrastinate as we always owe these days!

♥Heather Dawn♥ said...

My husband always files them right away.

BowieTip said...

I file as soon as possible.

peg42 said...

I get them done as soon as possible. Just to get them out of the way.
Thanks so much.
rickpeggysmith(at)aol(dot)com

Tram Le said...

Yes, I do procrastinate when it comes to filing my taxes.

Erik Test said...

I procrastinate; every day is so busy I have a hard time sitting down to finish them up.

Sue Hull said...

I do them as soon as possible.Something as important as taxes I never put off.Thank you :)

Xty C said...

We always do our taxes early so that we have enough time if there are some papers that are missing

Jose Benavides said...

I get them done as soon as possible

nickieisis3 said...

We get them done right away.

Jane Thomas said...

We procrastinated this year usually we dont.

Phoenix said...

I do them right away Rebecca B

llinda29 said...

I do them in March

Claudia N said...

We get them done in a timely manner, Thank you!

Clinton Weiss said...

I file them ASAP after getting my W2 (inevitably as late as allowed by law... argh)

sarah050 said...

No we never procrastinate, we are too excited to get that refund!

kathyluman said...

I do my taxes as soon as possible. Don't want to put them aside and forget.

kathyluman @ gmail dot com

RICHARD HICKS said...

I always procrastinate and will get them done near deadline

Jerome Royce said...

I do them asap as I always get a refund!

latanya t said...

get them asap

momo said...

Nope, we got ours done the first week in February. Glad that's over with.

Susan Christy said...

Even though I get a refund, I don't enjoy doing my taxes so I procrastinate.

Kimberly said...

Every year I say I will do it early but it never seems to work out that way.

ferriz said...

i have till the 15th... procrastinate for the win!

danielle marie xdanimarie(at)yahoo(dot)com

Ariadanz said...

Ours can be a bit complicated so we usually file an extension and then do them post-April.

Karen said...

I get them done as soon as possible :)

ktgonyea at gmail dot com

LesleyfromWI said...

We get them done as soon as possible

heymissvirginia said...

I used to be a procrastinater and always filed an extension. Now, with all the identity theft, I get them done as soon as possible.
heymissvirginia at embarqmail dot com

bbrittbrat1398 said...

I usually wait until the last week.
Brittney House BBrittBrat1398@yahoo.com

Natalie Yeoman said...

i like to get them done as soon as possible

Tamar said...

I try to, but this year wasn't possible.

Serenap95 said...

We get them done as soon as possible.

Christine Jessamine said...

we always get them done as soon as we can.

Shelton Rogerson said...

I like to get this done ASAP>

Little Mama Meow said...

I file it as soon as turbo tax will allow me to

mogrill said...

Depends on if I am getting money back or not! LOL

Lisa P. said...

Since we owe (self-employed), I usually procrastinate.

tute-bot said...

It depends on whether I am getting money back or owe money. Years when I get money back I always file right away, but this year I know I'm going to pay so I haven't done it yet. Thanks for reminding me...

littlelatina said...

I didnt rush but i took care of it

edq143 at yahoo dot com

katja9_10 said...

We go ahead and get our taxes done, usually in February.

Les Johnson

Marnie Ward said...

I do my taxes as early as possible.

Marnie Ward said...

I do my taxes as early as possible.

crankyyanky1 said...

I am a big fat procrastinator I am always last day last minute

virgil poore said...

we do taxes around the first of feb and get them over with but i am bad at procrsinating at everything else.if it wasnt for the wife a lot of things wouldnt get done on time lol

amanda hardesty said...

We have school district, city, state and local to file and pay each year. I start early, but the locals are always last minute
hollow_sins(at)yahoo.com

Shelley P said...

My husband does our taxes as soon as possible.

Lisa Voyce said...

I do my taxes as soon as possible.

carolwegs said...

I like to get my taxes done as soon as possible. thanks

Debra said...

i get them done as soon as possible

Snytar said...

No we do ours right away.

jbmthill said...

I get them done as soon as I have received everything I need.

like2sweep@gmail.com
Beth H

Erika P. said...

I get them done right away.
ET Pruitt

Karen C said...

I don't do them right away, but get them done before the deadline.

singingserpent said...

We file right away.

Erica C. said...

We do them ASAP.

Charlene S. said...

I get them done as soon as possible :)

SexyBrat said...

I usually get a refund, so try to get them done ASAP.

kohndr said...

We always get money back so I filed them as soon as we get the forms

Robin T said...

We try to get our taxes done as soon as possible, since we usually get money back.

rtrexel@gmail.com

Jovan said...

I try to get it done as soon as possible because I tend to forget about stuff as time goes on.

Angela Ash said...

I stalk my mailbox waiting for the W-2's to come. I file as soon as I have the last one in my hand.

dreamcleavers said...

I procrastinate...I'm one of the only people I know that waits 'till the last minute to get his refund!

Mariah Williams said...

I try to do them by the end of February after I know I have all the information in.

Sherry Conrad said...

Sort of in between, we're before the deadline but not the second we could.

Francine said...

we get them done right away

Sky Evans said...

I do procrastinate.

Diane Estrella said...

I procrastinate but my hubby is always in a hurry.

Christine Treece said...

I'm the worst,I just did mine today!

Karrie Millheim said...

I am putting it off..I have been working on them for weeks..I have one small problem with them and cannot seem to find the answer anywhere. so i put it off and I think i am close to having them done...ugh thank god next year i will have a simple return

angela0040 said...

Yes because I'm an independent contractor and need to input all of my expenses and pay my own taxes.

Jamie said...

I just did them today, which is early for me.

Melanie Montgomery said...

I procrastinate, I filed them yesterday

Karen Drake said...

We do our taxes early, we usually get a refund so we don't put off filing them.

Eyisila said...

We do them as soon as we can. We usually get a refund and could use the money.

Mihaela Day said...

I usually procrastinate since I do not like doing them :)

Carl White said...


Procrastinate.

Carolyn Daley said...

I do not procrastinate when it comes to taxes. I file my income tax return once I have all the forms needed to do so.

Roxann said...

We file as soon as we have all the documents that we need.

cassandra said...

I usually don't procrastinate on that sort of stuff.

kathy pease said...

I usually do them as soon as I get all the stuff in the mail that I need

rache81 said...

I file mine immediately but I procrastinate when it comes to getting my dad's taxes together and filed.
Rachel Ellis on Rafflecopter

kimbly said...

I am a horrible procrastinator and spent this weekend trying to dig up tax papers. I swear every year I am not going to wait until the last minute, but I do. And I regret it.

Tylerpants said...

My husband does our taxes and does them early! Lisa L tylerpants(at)gmail.com

Charlene Kuser said...

We get our taxes done right away,to get it out of the way.

CharlieGurl57@aol.com

lmurley2000 said...

I get them done as soon as possible

lmurley2000@yahoo.com

Library Lady said...

I usually wait a few weeks before I file my taxes. - Jessica Holmes

amy16323 said...

I do them right away when we get them

toddy said...

I procrastinate doing my taxes

Clair Freebie said...

Yup I procrastinated this year cause I did them about a week ago!

bev said...

I hate doing them, so I wait as long as possible. Thanks.

trixx said...

I wait till the last minute...usually a few days before =(

Buddy Garrett said...

I procrastinate.

Melanie Comello said...

I always try to get them done as soon as possible, but i can't lie, procrastination, is my middle name lol.

/\Heather/\ said...

We usually get them done early so nobody else does them for us...and gets our refund.

Christian Alejandro said...

I try to get them out of the way. lexbaylor27 at gmail dot com

Brian E. said...

Thanks for the giveaway…we do our taxes in early March every year.

Rafflecopter: Bryan E.

lilyk said...

I procrastinate.