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Being organized, thorough makes tax time less taxing

Dear Readers: Guess what day is coming up quickly? Probably one of the least-liked days — April 15! You might not like it, but it's a fact of life.

Here are some hints to make TAX DAY just a little easier:

Don't send original documents to the Internal Revenue Service. In case of a problem, you will need the original records.

Be sure that when you send in your tax return, you and your spouse (if required) sign it. You would not believe the number of people who forget to do this!

You should use the pre-printed address label, because it speeds up the process, which is especially important when waiting for your refund!

Always check the figures from the tax tables twice — you might even want to use a ruler to be sure you are on the correct line. Writing down the wrong figure can cause a delay in your return, and you might actually have to pay interest on the amount you underpaid.

Be sure to include all of the necessary forms. Remember, if you worked more than one job, you will need to include a copy of each W-2 form.

Make a folder for each month and put in copies of tax-related items. This way, when you get ready to do your taxes, you will have it all right at hand. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I make lots of beaded jewelry. To keep the many beads separate and easily identifiable, I use plastic snack bags, the type that is smaller than a sandwich bag. This is easier than keeping the beads in a drawer and labeling, etc. — Wendylee Raun, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: Several years ago, I was helping my dad make salsa. While we were preparing the peppers, our hands started to burn. Dad, with his extensive experience in making salsa, put some baking soda and water in the sink. We soaked our hands in the mixture for a few seconds, and the burning was instantly gone. The baking soda neutralized the hotness of the peppers. — Judy Clark, Milton, Fla.

You have one smart dad! Baking soda is my favorite cleaner/helper, upstaged only by my beloved vinegar! Baking soda has a multitude of money-saving uses around the home. To receive a copy of my six-page pamphlet on baking soda hints, please send $4 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (60 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Did you know that baking soda can also be used as a nonabrasive cleaning powder? Just dampen a sponge with some water, sprinkle on the baking soda (a little will do) and wipe surfaces clean. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: As a mother of six children and Nana to six grandkids, I have a lot of socks to match after doing laundry. I keep a large mesh bag for the mismatched. I use small store bags to subdivide the socks into categories: one for the babies, one for my daughter, one for colored socks, one for footies and so on. This cuts my time down considerably! — Barbara Cook, Mesquite, Texas


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