3 Insanely Simple Steps to Automate your Taxes

3 Insanely Simple Steps to Automate your Taxes

If you’re like me, you have a hard time staying on top of your taxes. You have gas receipts stuffed in every corner of your car. You are saving them for the day at the end of the year when you do your taxes. You think to yourself: “Is this money I get back even worth the trouble?!” Then you remember money doesn’t grow on trees, you have bills to pay and you just grunt and keep stuffing…

I don’t dread this as much as I used to. I’m going to show you how I use my favorite automation tool to COMPLETELY automate my taxes.

The tool is called: IF THIS THEN THAT or IFTTT for short!

The way it works is, it allows you to connect different tools together. And just as the name sounds, it lets you set up “IFTTT applets” that look like this:

IF “this happens” THEN “do” THAT


If This Then That Applet

    Here are 3 simple applets that will automate this process… no more stuffing receipts.

    1. One-click: Take a picture of the receipt and upload to an organized folder on Google Drive.

    • Download the IFTTT camera app on your phone.
    • Create a folder “Receipts” and a subfolder “2016” in Google Drive.
    • Turn this applet on and edit it to put photos in the “Receipts/2016” folder.

    Now, with one click your phone will take a picture of your receipt and upload it to your Google Drive folder.

    If you don’t have data, the app will wait for wifi to upload.

    Save your receipts the first year. Once everything goes smoothly this first time around, feel free to throw dem’ receipts out.


    ProTip: Create multiple versions of this applet with subfolders of different expense types. (“Receipts/2016/gas”, “Receipts/2016/restaurants”)

    2. Add incoming email receipts to Google Drive

    This applet will watch your inbox for emails. Any emails with “receipt” or “order” in the title will automatically go in your receipts folder. IFTTT will add a new row to a spreadsheet so you can keep track of the link to the original email.

    • Turn this applet on and press save.
    • Edit it to put files in the “Receipts/2016” folder.

    3. Send your accountant a timed email with the link to your receipts folder.

    Send Email to Accountant

      This last piece will finish off the automation process. Send your accountant an email every year with your receipts.

      Get an accountant to handle your income taxes at the end of the year. Make sure they allow you to send only electronic receipts of your purchases.


      Here’s an applet that will send them a friendly email with a link to your receipts folder.

      This last one you’ll have to create yourself.

      • From the My Applets page, click “New Applet”.
      • Click “+this” and select Date and Time.
      • Choose the “Every year on” box.
      • Enter your favorite day in January.
      • Click “+that” and select Gmail.
      • Choose the “Send an Email” box.
      • Then, enter the email to your accountant with a link to your Receipts folder.
      • Click “Create Action”
      • Click “Finish”.

      You’re all set to go, make sure your accountant will take photos of receipts.

      Bonus: Integrate more automation with Expensify

      Expensify is service that keeps track of your receipts and expenses for your tax returns. Their free tier is great for personal use. The best part is, you can connect it with IFTTT.

      You can replace the One-click option by uploading to Expensify instead of Google Drive.


      Replace the “add incoming email receipts to google drive” with this custom applet. Forward incoming email receipts to Expensify.

      • From the My Applets page, click “New Applet”.
      • Click “+this” and select Gmail.
      • Choose the “New email from inbox in search” box.
      • Enter “subject:receipt, subject:order” in the input and click “Create Trigger”.
      • Click “+that” and select Gmail.
      • Choose the “Send an Email” box.
      • Then, enter the email to
      • Click “Create Action”
      • Click “Finish”.

      I’ll leave it as an exercise for you to update sending an email to your accountant.


      You should now be up and running with an automated tax return process. There are even more ways you can automate. If you need to record your trips in your vehicle, there’s an applet for that.

      Let us know if there are any additional tools you use to automate your finances.

      More by this author

      Collin Glass


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      Last Updated on July 8, 2020

      10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

      10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

      Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

      Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

      As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

      In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

      Projects and Tasks Management

      1. Monday dot com

        Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

        The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

        The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

        The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

        Check out the software here!

        2. Asana


          The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

          The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

          Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

          Check out the software here!

          3. Trello

            Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

            Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

            Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

            Check out the software here!

            4. Jira

              The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.


              The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

              The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

              Check out the software here!

              5. Evernote Business

                Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                Check out the software here!


                6. Slack

                  Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                  Check out the software here!


                  7. Spike

                    Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                    Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                    Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                    Check out the software here!


                    8. Office 365

                      Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                      Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                      You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                      Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                      Check out the software here!


                      9. Grammarly

                        Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                        Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                        Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                        Check out the software here!

                        Team Analytics

                        10. ActivTrak

                          ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                          The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                          Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                          Check out the software here!

                          The Bottom Line

                          Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                          More Productivity Tools

                          Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via

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