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April 2, 2013

Tax season is here. Acrobat is here to help.

Hurray, it’s tax season again! Oh, who are we kidding: ugh, it’s tax season again. If the onset of April has you scrambling for last year’s documents and writing frantic emails to your accountant, you’re not alone. While Acrobat can’t do your taxes for you, we do have a few tips for using Acrobat to help you prepare your taxes and take off some of the stress:

  1. If you made any kind of charitable donation last year or if you had business expenses, or really if you have any deductions for which you need to show documentation, you’ll want to use Acrobat for help with scanning and running OCR on those receipts (learn more…). Not only can you straighten out crookedly-scanned files, you can also use the OCR features in Acrobat to make those documents searchable. Once they’ve been digitized, they’ll be much easier to organize (and much harder to spill coffee on or lose under a pile of junk mail).
  2. Your poor accountant is going to face some hard times in the next two weeks: all of us who wait until the last minute to get our taxes in order will be sending over fax after fax after email after email. Take it easy on the poor guy by collecting all those 2012 documents – like Excel spreadsheets, PDF files of investment summaries from your broker, and the aforementioned (and now nicely scanned) receipts – and combining them all into a single PDF file (learn more…). Whatever format those documents were originally in, your tax man will have no trouble viewing them all in the neat PDF document you email to him.
  3. Now, let’s be clear: no one is actually encouraging you to doctor up your files for nefarious purposes. However, Acrobat can help you edit your documents (learn more…) to make them more accurate: if anyone spelled your name wrong on a receipt or used incorrect information, you can use Acrobat’s editing tools to neaten up the file. If you don’t want to share certain bits of personal or sensitive information, just use the redaction tools to remove any unnecessary information from a document (learn more…).
  4. When you’re finally ready to fill out those forms, don’t bother printing and mailing them (again, fear of coffee spills and loose paper should be warning enough). Here in the United States, the IRS makes most of their forms available as fillable PDF files, which you can complete with Acrobat or even with the free Adobe Reader XI (learn more…). If for some reason you don’t wind up with a fillable PDF form, you can still use the “Add text” tool to fill out the form digitally. Alternatively, just convert the form to Word, Excel and other formats from both Acrobat XI or our online services at Acrobat.com (learn more…). Once you’ve got the forms in those editable formats you can just edit and work within the supported applications.

Taxes are always taxing, but don’t let it get you down: just use Acrobat to keep your files in order and under control. Then, once you’re all done, pack it all up and store it securely in Acrobat.com for archiving and future reference. We bet you won’t even need the next two full weeks to do it.

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COMMENTS

  • By Al Yuen, cpa - 7:36 PM on April 25, 2013  

    I need redaction tool to remove clients social security# from scan documents. I know Acrobat XI can do redaction manually. Can Acrobat XI do it automatically?
    e.g. I scan all my clients tax doc in a pdf file and ask Acrobat to redact all the social security# automatically. Not manually one by one. Please email me some info or white paper asap.

    • By joiemikitson - 8:47 AM on April 26, 2013  

      Hi Al, thanks for reaching out. Acrobat doesn’t have a way of automatically picking out text for redaction baked in. The workflow you’ve described might be possible with Javascript though. Try posing your question and desired workflow in the Acrobat Javascript forum. Our staff and community experts might be able to work out a solution for you. (link for ‘Acrobat Javascript forum: http://forums.adobe.com/community/acrobat/acrobat_scripting)

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