What Is a Tax Ledger?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 07 May 2020
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A tax ledger provides a space to record information relevant to taxes, for ease of record keeping throughout the year. It can include fields for income, deductions, payments to tax agencies, and other data that may be important for tax accounting. Using a ledger can cut down on tax preparation time and creates a standardized record to use in the event of an audit. Ledger software may be able to generate reports and interface with other accounting programs to streamline financial recording.

Like other ledgers, the tax ledger contains a series of columns for information pertaining to transactions, and rows for recording each transaction individually. The records can note the date, amount, and nature, along with other relevant information, such as a classification to note where a deduction would go on a tax return. Information for a tax ledger can be pulled from receipts and bills directly, or from a software program where accounting information is stored.

Software can be extremely useful for financial records. Some programs will communicate with a bank account to automatically pull transaction data, and may be able to classify it as well on the basis of categories assigned to older transactions. Information pertaining to taxes can be pulled into a separate tax ledger and added up in periodic reports. These can list deductions, payments, and other relevant information for the convenience of the taxpayer or an accountant.

Hard copy ledgers are also available. It’s advisable to set aside a time to update them to make sure the information stays as current as possible, and to use a consistent system for entering information. This allows users to quickly skim their ledgers to collect the necessary material when they prepare their taxes. Taxpayers can keep copies along with other records to reference in the event of questions or problems with tax returns.

In addition to tracking payments, deductions, and other information for personal or business taxes, a tax ledger can also be used to track sales tax. Businesses are obligated to collect sales tax in many regions and may maintain a separate ledger to track it, as this can become very complicated. Personnel can record transactions subject to sales tax and the amount collected so they can submit this, along with required documentation, when sales tax payments are due. This can reduce the risk of missing a payment or failing to send the correct amount to the government.

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