I’m not talking vinyl music platters…I’m talking receipts. I’m talking about saving your business butt. I’m talking about saving your personal assets.
I was shocked when training with the Internal Revenue Service to find out that you (and me, too), the taxpayer, are considered GUILTY until you PROVE YOURSELF innocent. That was so against what I had grown up with in this great country of America, the land of Superman and Perry Mason.
Do you have what it takes to prove yourself innocent? How do you do that? Well, it’s very simple. It can also be considered boring drudgery, but it is your best defense. It’s called record keeping.
Did you know that thermal paper receipts will fade over time. It is guaranteed! That printed strip of paper showing the date, the place of purchase, the item purchased and the amount you paid is so clear when you first get it. But when you look at it later it has begun to fade. And if you need it to show the IRS one or two years later, it could be completely blank.
So how do you protect yourself with this paper that you need so badly? Put it in a copy machine and make a photocopy. Or scan it into your computer. If you have a paper copy, you will want a file folder or envelope or box to organize your papers. If you use a scanner, you will want to set up a folder on your computer so you know how to go back and find what you need later.
Is this necessary for everyone? Yes. If you own a business or are self-employed you have a business tax return to file. And every person who owns a business must also file a personal tax return.
It is important to keep your business records separate from your personal records. It is important to keep the records for one year separate from the records for another year.
Did you know that the biggest gangster in Chicago during the Roaring Twenties, the 1920s, did not go to jail for moonshining, or drug running, or gambling or prostitution? Elliott Ness of Untouchables fame, was really an IRS Agent. This famous gangster, Al Capone. went to jail for tax evasion. He did not keep track of his income and expenses. Or did he? He just didn’t put all of the right numbers on his tax return.
Years ago, on the 10pm TV news they used to say, “It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?” And today I submit to you, It’s the last quarter of this year. Do you know what your numbers are? Do you know where that receipt is?
I’ll be asking my clients for all their numbers come tax season. Get a jump on it. Catch up on what you could have done earlier this year. I’ll be asking you for your true numbers and I want you to be ready. They are your best audit defense.