Tax Organizer

I’m not a big fan of tax organizers. I got started in this business many years ago because of a bad CPA (if he was even a real CPA). He had me fill out a 20 page long ‘organizer,’ which quite frankly, I figured that after doing all that work I could have just done my taxes myself pretty easily. But the worst part was that after I did all that work, the guy still did my taxes wrong!

Being a bit of a tax geek already, I caught the mistake before I mailed in my return. (Yes, back in the stone age when we used the US Postal service to mail our tax returns.) So when I confronted him about it he blamed his secretary for inputting my numbers incorrectly.

But here’s the thing. I didn’t hire a secretary to do my taxes. I hired a CPA. I sort of made the assumption that the guy signing the tax return would actually look at it somewhere along the line.

Anyway, I was so mad I wound up going to tax school etc., etc. Here I am with my own tax company. (Maybe I should thank the guy but I don’t even remember his name.)

Anyway, I don’t like organizers because I like to talk to people and get to understand their situation. I like to look at a person’s actual W2 or 1099 and not what the person wrote down on a piece of paper – it makes for fewer mistakes. I also think that if a person is paying me to do their taxes for them, my job is to make it easy. I had spent hours working on that 20 page organizer for that dude. That’s not easy!

But some people really like to use organizers. I always have some clients that ask for one. I like this one because it’s only 8 pages and it doesn’t ask you to copy your W2 information, just to list them and bring the documents to your appointment. Some pages you might not need – for example, page 7 is for rental income. Well, if you don’t have rentals, then you don’t need to fill out the page. I like that.

So while a tax organizer is no substitute for meeting with your tax preparer in person, if you like to get organized and make sure that you have all your ducks in a row before going to your appointment this is the one I recommend. It’s also helpful if you’re preparing your own tax return as well.

Here’s the link so you can download a copy of the organizer for yourself: or check our downloads tab at the top of the page.

And here’s a request. Would you please do me a favor and let me know what you think? Do you like organizers, don’t like them? Do you like this one, or don’t like it? What’s your opinion? I’m afraid that my bad experience years ago gives me a jaded view. But if I get a lot of positive feedback about it, I’ll start printing them out and using them with all my clients. (I’m not so stodgy that I can’t learn to change. I learn new tax laws every year, right?) Thanks for your help.