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Taxation: The three Ds of paying dues

Tuesday, 8 April 2014 | By Linnet Hunter

I know it’s not officially the end of the financial year just yet, but it feels as if, in my office at least, it’s always time to pay or take care of a tax of some sort; GST, PAYG…all that stuff. And then there’s preparing for, submitting and paying BAS, which I have been told stands for Bloody Annoying System. The dues come around so quickly and I rarely feel ready.


One reason for this is probably because my filing system is constantly evolving. By which I mean that I keep changing it in the hope of creating one that works and so am always between methods and can never find anything. This is not really helping and adding considerably to my workload in the process.


So here are three things you (and I) could be doing to minimise the worry of the ever looming, lurking, hovering duties and to make the necessary task a bit more bearable. Keep in mind that two of these three are still theoretical for me, but I am assured by my solo colleagues that they do work.


Do it


Just do it. Often and consistently. Even an hour a week would get my dollars deducted and my cents making sense. And then there wouldn’t be a mad kerfuffle at the end of each three months.


Procrastination on this score ends up costing money, as the Tax Office, while quite reasonable about payment plans when you have a genuine situation, is not all that sympathetic when the delay is down to being slack. I know – I have had to pay up big in the past for pretending it would all go away if I didn’t look at it.


Avoidance is not a tactic.


Design it


If it looks good you are more likely to use it, so harness this fact in buying matching manila folders, or using pretty or coloured icons on the laptop filing system. It doesn’t make filing more fun but it does make it a tad less tedious, or even less serious, and colour coding can speed up the seeking and finding of items.


Strong design can also speed up and slim down the process. Two good things about taxes are that they are predictable and repetitive, so even though we may not know the exact figure, we know that they will be due and when. This means developing a system should be easy.


Delegate it


As soon as funds allow, get someone else t do as much of it as possible, such as a bookkeeper, virtual assistant or accountant. Whoever is available, use their time and skills to buy you more time to do what you do well.


Remember to choose someone whose work method ties in with yours – for example – who is familiar with the software program you currently use, and if you prefer electronic records they should too. Sounds obvious, but I have been caught here before and had to print everything because I forgot to ask if they could use or were willing to learn to use the cloud to share information.