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Tax Time Prep Made Easy

W-2? 1099-MISC? 1098-E? Check, check, and bingo. It’s tax time!

Tax season has arrived, and with it, a flurry of trifold, self-mailers with perforated, tear-away edges—each containing a mathematical summary of your life in concisely-labeled boxes. Meanwhile, accountants across the nation have warmed up their number crunchers and stocked up on extra mouse batteries.

And you? Have you located your shoebox of receipts? Is your spending information ready to go? If not, then today’s post might just make your weekend.

(Isn’t adulthood fun?)

In YNAB, you can tag and flag your tax-deductible expenses, link important documents to your transactions and categories, search up important transactions, and even export your transactions by category and payee (and flag and memo and emoji, oh my).

Fast Tax Time Prep Tricks in YNAB

If you’re self-employed and need to track individual income sources, give each income source a unique payee name. YNAB’s Income v Expense report automatically calculates how much income you earned from each source.

🎵 I've been makin' paper like I'm Dunder Mifflin. 🎵

To help you keep up with your tax-deductible expenses, add a Flag or emoji in the memo field. If you want to get really specific in your tracking, use both. For example, if you know your property taxes, medical expenses, and charitable donations are tax-deductible, flag each transaction throughout the year with Green (Green for big fat refund, amiright?). Then, add a unique “tag” or emoji to the memo field:

Make tax prep easier by flagging tax-deductible expenses in your budget.
Make tax prep easier by flagging tax-deductible expenses in your budget.

Both the Flags and the memo field are fully searchable, so running a search in your “All Accounts” register for either will pull up all the transactions with those details.

Speaking of searching, search up any info you need in any of your accounts. You did the work to gather all this juicy transaction info, so be sure you take advantage of it! You can search by a huge number of criteria including payee, category, date range, amount, and so much more! If your tax prep requires you to find any combination of spending info, you can find it in YNAB. 

Need to send those transactions to your accountant? Or just want to print them out? You can export both your entire budget history or just selected transactions as comma-separated files (that means ‘spreadsheets’). You can also export your reports! Here’s how:

To export your entire transaction history:

  1. Open YNAB on a computer, and click the name of your budget in the upper left corner.
  2. Choose the Export Budget option.
  3. You’ll get two files in a download: one of your budget history, and one of your transaction history for all of your accounts.

To export selected transactions (like for a specific payee, category, flag, or memo):

  1. Open YNAB on a computer, and click All Accounts in the left sidebar.
  2. In the search field, search for the name of the category, payee, flag color, or memo “tag” to bring up all transactions categorized to it.
  3. You can also filter those results under View to narrow down to a specific time frame.
  4. Once you have searched and filtered your transactions, select all applicable transactions using the Select All option.
  5. You’ll see a floating action bar at the bottom of the screen. Click More, then click Export # Transactions.

To export a report:

  1. Log into YNAB on your desktop computer.
  2. Click ‘Reports’ on the left-hand side of the screen, which takes you to your ‘Spending’ report. (To switch to your ‘Net Worth’ or ‘Income v. Expenses’ report, click its name at the top of the screen.)
  3. Click ‘Export’ on the upper right-hand side of the screen.
  4. Click ‘Export’ again, to download the file.

Once you’ve downloaded your data, the sky’s the limit. Make tax time (and your accountant’s life) easier with a neatly organized spreadsheet that covers all of your financial incomings and outgoings.

And, if you DIY your taxes, dig through your data more efficiently and save yourself some time for something a little more enjoyable!

Know someone who needs some financial organization in their life for tax time and beyond? Tell them about YNAB’s 34-day free trial!

YNAB IRL: Huge Tax Bill? We know exactly what to do!

When YNABer Katie and her partner received an enormous tax bill, her plan took a big hit. But because of the clarity YNAB brings, she knew just how to handle it.

...our tax bill was about three times as much as usual and ended up being over a full month's take-home income for us. We were able to pay the entire bill without having to use a payment plan. It scraped all of our categories to the very bottom so it kind of feels like starting from scratch. The happy part about it though is the clarity throughout the whole thing.We know exactly where we stand, and what we need to do. We tighten our belts, make adjustments, and know that with the help of YNAB we can build the cushion back up.
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Tax Time Prep Made Easy