Why not mix pleasure with chores this Sunday and do your business tax return while you're watching the Super Bowl?
Since the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes (according to WSJ), what better way to spend the other 2 hours and 49 minutes doing this year's taxes? By the end of the game, you'll be able to say you did something constructive on Super Bowl Sunday, all between snaps.
• Gather all the W2s, check registers and last year's return into one place: the coffee table in front of the TV. Separate the paperwork from the guacamole. Angle your portable or desktop so you have a clear view of the field.
• Purchase/Update your software. I use Turbo Tax Deluxe and have to buy it new each year. It sucks, but that's the game and there are rules! There is also a Business version. See what's best for you at Turbotax.intuit.com.
• If you do your taxes the old fashioned way (i.e. "on paper"), then make some extra room on your snack table for reams of paper, a calculator, scratch pads and mechanical pencils.
• Transfer last year's data before entering or importing financial data. You're ready to play!
• Download last year's monthly statements into Quickbooks or hand-enter them into your spreadsheet program. Watch out for penalties: you can't count overdraft fees as payments! Have this book handy: Self-Employed Tax Solutions.
• If you're using the Turbo Tax software, you can flag areas in your return and get back to them without losing a time out.
• Print out your P&L; moan about the lack of numbers on the board before the half.
• Don't forget: the IRS has lots of online help for small businesses. www.irs.gov/businesses/small
• It might interest you to know what the players make. Check here to see salaries of NFL players.
• Celebrate with "The Who": get up and dance to stretch out your back. You're halfway there!
• It's time to fire up Turbo Tax! Put in those W2s, withholding amounts and 1099-Miscs.
• Estimate your home office square footage and electricity.
• Fill out the dreaded Schedule C.
• Crunch the numbers. Look at all those self-employment taxes and remember why you turn down contract jobs that only pay $35/hour.
• Let Turbo Tax run a Smart check for errors and fix the problems. Lacking a software program, hand it to your math-obsessed daughter who doesn't care for football and ask her to run a check.
• Don't forget your state taxes!
• Drive that return into the IRS with a simple upload. You're getting money back! You win!
Now wasn't that better than taking down the Christmas tree?
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Photo, above: Pats, Eagles, 2007. This image was originally posted to Flickr by juan23 and is used under a Creative Commons license.