Fulltiming and tax records

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Smoky

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I have each year of my tax records stored in one of those plastic file boxes for hanging folders.  We certainly will not have room to carry them all, especially with the ironing board on hand.

I'd like to hear from some of the full-timers how you handle and store all the paperwork and record keeping that goes with taxes.
 

Ned

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Quicken and only keep credit card receipts.  Get all brokerage documents and bank statements online in PDF or TXT format.  Keep very little paper.  Print the tax reports for the CPA to PDFs and combine into one PDF file for emailing.
 

Ron

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SInce we still have a place where we can store things we store our tax records in Mt and record the tax information on a cd to carry with us.  We only carry three years worth of tax information cds with us.
 

Smoky

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Good ideas.  I noticed that quicken now allows conversion of data into a pdf file.  Storing pdfs on DVD might be a good way to go.
 

Conodor

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when you all say you use CD's to store you date.  that's a good idea, BUT  cd's can easily be damaged, lost and worst case your home catch fire.

I would suggest compressing the files and emailg them to yourself.  i'm not a fulltimer, heck don't even own a camper yet!  but i do this with my taxes each year. 

i use www.gmail.com (google's email service) it has 2 gig of space and you can email yourself a email and label it.  if you ever need it... no mater what as long as you log into that email address 1 time ever 2 months, your fine.

if you can't be sure to log in every 2 months, then there's other online storage options free, or minimal costs.  it's just more of a safty net. CD is teh way to go... but i back up all important stuff online also. the chance of them and me losing it... is next to impossible.
 

Tom

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Conodor said:
CD is teh way to go... but i back up all important stuff online also.

Good idea to have redundant backups. One question - how secure is such personal data when stored online in this manner?
 

Conodor

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humm, that' would be hard to say.  i would say nearly 99% but i guess it would be as secure as stuffing it in a cd under your bed.  you feel it would be safe, but there's always that chance.


Just like thiefs, there are hackers out there.  the chance of someone hacking into your personal files are possible.  but not likely.  it would probably be easier for someone to hack your computer and take the files than it would be fore somone to hack into a major compay like microsoft(hotmail) or gmail(google)  maybe even yahoo.

i can't say 100% secure, but i woudln't worry about it to much.

 

Tom

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Conodor said:
i can't say 100% secure, but i woudln't worry about it to much.

I guess I'm more concerned about it more than that. There have been too many reports of "secure" systems being hacked and identity theft.
 

Conodor

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i guess it's a case of odds.  what's more likely something happening to your disk or a major corparation being hacked.  only you can decide that factor.
 

Ned

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Before uploading any personal files to any web server, I would strongly recommend that they be compressed into a zip file with encryption.  Winzip (and other similar progams) make that very easy to do.  Be sure to use a strong password and keep it in a safe place so you don't lose it.
 

Smoky

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Tom:

I used to be more worried like you, but finally I decided that electronic data is no less secure than any other kind of data and a WHOLE lot more convenient.  This came home to me in the last 9 months while managing a Radio Shack store for a friend.  It is astonishing how much access retail people have to other people's identity.  Whenever we sold a cell phone we had SS#, driver's license photocopy, and credit card information.  These are considered the big three for stealing identity, and every day we had our hands on dozens of people's "big three" without ever having to hack anything at all.  And retail people are not like bank people with lots of checks and balances.

I think Ned may have a good compromise via encrypting.  That gives the edge to electronic media rather than conventional processes IMO.

Conodor good idea.  Tom is right that redundancy is best so I will use CDs AND the mail storage.  What does google charge for that email service?

 

Tom

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Understood Smoky. I'm always concerened when asked for my SS number at a store, never more so that when trying to get a fishing license in a little town in northern NM. The gal was stuffing the applications in an unlocked drawer in what was nothing more than a shed. Ned did make a good suggestion with encryption.

Google mail is free and comes with a ton of storage.
 

Smoky

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Dang!

I can find gmail where you enter your account and password, but I can't find where to open a new account.  I see on ebay where they are selling gmail accounts.  I also see where this is a limited beta test.

Am I too late to get an account?
 

Tom

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Smoky

Thought I mentioned it in another message; Send me an email with your desired Gmail screen name and password. I have some I can hand out.
 

Tom

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I got mine via another forum member. As one uses the account more, they automatically give you freebies to hand out. Please, let's not analyze this one to death  ::)
 

Ned

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Tom,

You only need the email address of the person desiring to open a Gmail account.  The user name and password are chosen when the account is opened.

Gmail is no longer in beta and everyone gets 50 invites to give out as they wish.
 

Tom

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Ned said:
You only need the email address of the person desiring to open a Gmail account.

I eventually figured that out. But their preview screen still asks for first/last names. I sent one without previewing it (email address only) and it arrived OK. Confusion abounds.
 

blueblood

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Smoky said:
I have each year of my tax records stored in one of those plastic file boxes for hanging folders.  We certainly will not have room to carry them all, especially with the ironing board on hand.

I'd like to hear from some of the full-timers how you handle and store all the paperwork and record keeping that goes with taxes.

A couple of things to consider. Since 1/1/98 it is no longer necessary to maintain paper records. The IRS accepts what they call "machine sensible" records. There are some requirements like you not only have to have the data on a media of some sort but must have the program to use them. For example, if I have a 2003 data file for Quicken, I must have access to the 1993 tax program that created it so they can access to use for reviewing. Other normal requirements have to do with providing audit trail,etc. The other thing is that records don't have to be stored more than three years after the year of filing (unless you did something fradulent) or it's some sort of investment data that requires longer record keeping. I have been able to reduce my space considerably using these two parameters.
 
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