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Tinderbox and Taxes (Read 9564 times)
AGHorne
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Tinderbox and Taxes
Feb 05th, 2011, 7:29am
 
It's about that time for me to start and tackle the dreaded taxes for 2010.  I've been playing around with the idea of dumping DevonThink/Excel and using Tinderbox for my taxes.  However, before I begin to plug a bunch of data into Tinderbox and later realize my Tinderbox system isn't all great or less time consuming or both; I figured I'd lay out my thoughts and get opinions/advice and warnings...

Basically I'm looking to use Tinderbox to help log receipts both taxable/nontaxable

I have every receipt scanned into the computer with the following name format:  YYYY-MM-DD | Vendor | Price

In Tinderbox, I'm thinking of having a few UserAttributes: $Date ; $Vendor;  $Amount;  $Taxable(Boolean); $Keyword

and then whatever items I bought listed in the note and an external link to the actual receipt.

I would like to have a Keyword attribute so I can list whether the receipt is related to work, equipment, medical, auto, personal, and so forth.

In outline view, I would set up four columns:  Date | $Name | Price | Keyword

Perhaps I'll leave out Keyword column to avoid clutter.

When finished, I could run a sum operator and have my total for all the receipts.  I'm still weak in the areas of export, but is there any reason this method would not export cleanly?  

Any suggestions or advice is appreciated.

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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #1 - Feb 5th, 2011, 9:30am
 
Makes sense to me, at least at first glance. You might need to massage the date formats, or maybe your system's date format preferences.

I'd plunge is and do a pilot study with a dozen receipts, just to see how things go. Plan to spend a few hours and to throw the first one away....
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AGHorne
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #2 - Feb 5th, 2011, 10:10pm
 
I have hit my first problem.

Say I have a receipt for 100.00, but the actual amount that is taxable is 50 bucks.

I'm thinking about using an additional attribute and calling it $TaxableAmount, but not making it a key attribute.

If I create an agent with all notes having $Taxable=true and in the year 2010, is there a way to still get the correct taxable total? Perhaps set the operator to grab the sum of $TaxableAmount, but if no $TaxableAmount is present take $Amount?

Or is there a better/easier work around?

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« Last Edit: Feb 5th, 2011, 10:11pm by AGHorne »  
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #3 - Feb 5th, 2011, 10:35pm
 
How about a rule that sets $TaxableAmount to $Amount if there's no TaxableAmount, but leaves it alone if you've set it manually?

     Rule: $TaxableAmount |= $Amount

The operator "|=" means, "perform this assignment if the current left-hand side is zero"
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AGHorne
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #4 - Feb 6th, 2011, 9:11am
 
Great!  I wondered what " | " meant.

Would Tinderbox have any issues if I used " | " in a notes name?
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AGHorne
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #5 - Feb 6th, 2011, 10:49am
 
Also, I'm having an issue trying to total my first few months.  Here is my current setup:

Year 2010 (Container)
       Jan. 2010 (Container)
       Feb. 2010 (Container)

Obviously I have the receipts filed in by month.  So far I've plugged around 20 receipts.

I made an agent called 2010Tax with the following query:
descendedFrom(Year 2010)&$Taxable=true

and inserted the Rule :  $TaxableAmount |= $Amount

I then created a new note and called it "Total"

I set the following $DisplayExpression

$Name+"$ "+sum(child(2010Tax),$Amount)

Everything works great, until I use the $TaxableAmount attribute.



I created a "Test" note and made the $Amount = 100, but with a $TaxableAmount=10.  

Ideally, I want to see my new sum go up only 10, but it still reads $Amount.

I currently do not have $TaxableAmount as a key attribute, but only used when needed via stamp.  Most of my receipts are 100% deductible, so I didn't want to cram up the KeyAttributes with $TaxableAmount being used seldom.

Could this be causing an issue?  Should I make $TaxableAmount a key and just leave the "0" default?  

I'm still pretty young in the world of Tinderbox.  In the past, I've only used it for a basic note taking application.  I've just recently decided to delve into exporting and operators.  

You really do have a great application, Mark.  It's proving to be an asset in both my work and personal life.  

Thanks again for the help.
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« Last Edit: Feb 6th, 2011, 10:49am by AGHorne »  
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #6 - Feb 6th, 2011, 2:18pm
 
I think your DisplayExpression might want to be

    $Name+"$ "+sum(child(2010Tax),$TaxableAmount)

That is, you want to sum the TaxableAmounts, not the raw Amounts...
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #7 - Feb 6th, 2011, 2:42pm
 
to avoid non-deprecated syntax use:

   $Name+"$ "+sum(children(2010Tax),$TaxableAmount)

At a tangent. Prototypes will help a lot here.  I'd suggest for starters, "p_Month" and "p_item" and we'll add a $CumulativeTotal Number attribute.

Starting at the bottom, with "p_Item"

Key Attributes:   $Amount, $TaxableAmount

"p_Month":

OnAdd: $Prototype="p_Item"
Rule:  $Name+"$ "+sum(children,$TaxableAmount); $CumulativeTotal=sum(children,$TaxableAmount)
Key Attributes:   $CumulativeTotal

"p_Year":

OnAdd: $Prototype="p_Month"
Rule:  $CumulativeTotal=sum(children,$TaxableAmount)
Key Attributes:   $CumulativeTotal

Also, if you were able to use AppleScript to make a list of all your receipt names as a text list and add that to TB and explode it you might make those your stat notes (which you can add to year/month containers as above. By concatenating a string with the path to the receipts (full HFS-style path), $Nqme and and extension you could set that to $File making it easy to open any receipt note for inspection. Indeed, using regular expressions on a $Name of type "YYYY-MM-DD | Vendor | Price" you could probably set $Date, $Vendor, and $Amount.

small steps are good.  If you're good with regexp you might just dive into the latter or perhaps use it as a plan from enhancing your TBX for this years tax filing.
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AGHorne
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #8 - Mar 13th, 2011, 7:52am
 
The good news is that after a long weekend I have almost completed my taxes.  The bad news is that after a long weekend of doing taxes, I have almost depleted my energy and thought process.

I'm sure I'm going about this process all wrong and I'm hoping there is an easier way to complete the following...

I have a new file that I'm keeping all my "Transient Worker & Travel Expenses".  I would like to combine my two documents into one, but for now I believe it will be easier to keep the two separate.

So here is my layout:

I have a prototype called “proto-month” and have created the following attributes all as numbers.

$AmountReceived
$CumulativeAmount
$Automobile
$BaggageANDshipping
$Commute
$Groceries
$Meals
$LaundryANDdrycleaning
$Lodging
$TeleponeANDservices
$Transportation
$Utilites

AmountReceived is just the total amount of PerDiem or Housing Reimburstments I received in the month.  

I would like to make CumulativeAmount add all of the other attributes, but I’m having trouble.

I’ve used the following rule in “protomonth”
$CumulativeAmount=sum($Automobile & $BaggageANDshipping & $Commute & $Groceries & $Meals & $LaundryANDdrycleaning & $Lodging & $TeleponeANDservices & $Transportation & $Utilites)

But I’m guessing it’s too much because Tinderbox will not allow me to proceed out of the rename box…

My purpose is to see how much money I spend out of pocket...

Like I said before, I’m sure I’m way over complicating this...

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AGHorne
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #9 - Mar 13th, 2011, 8:06am
 
I was thinking of doing the following, too.

Have a prototype called “proto-month” with just a $CumulativeTotal and having a prototype called “proto-expense” with an $Amount attribute.

proto-Month would have the OnAdd=“proto-expense” and I would make a separate note for each expense field (Auto, Commute, etc)

Since I know I only have a certain amount of notes/expenses per month, can Tinderbox automate this process?

Perhaps make a prototype for each expense; “proto-auto”, “proto-lodging”, “proto-meals”, ect.  And assign it $Amount

So when I create Jan 2010 it will add each of the prototypes…
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #10 - Mar 13th, 2011, 8:19am
 
Your sum() syntax is wrong. I think you're meaning to write:

$CumulativeAmount=$Automobile + $BaggageANDshipping + $Commute + $Groceries + $Meals + $LaundryANDdrycleaning + $Lodging + $TeleponeANDservices + $Transportation + $Utilites

Or. for a sum of these values in the note's immediate children:

$CumulativeAmount= sum(children,($Automobile + $BaggageANDshipping + $Commute + $Groceries + $Meals + $LaundryANDdrycleaning + $Lodging + $TeleponeANDservices + $Transportation + $Utilites))
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AGHorne
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #11 - Mar 13th, 2011, 8:49am
 
Great! Thanks Mark.
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Re: Tinderbox and Taxes
Reply #12 - Mar 13th, 2011, 9:59am
 
Glad that worked. For the record, the white space around the plus signs is optional.  Adding it car make the code easy to read but TB doesn't mind either way. In the second code, the parentheses around the second argument - the summed attributes - is again optional but it makes it makes it unambiguous that the list of attributes is all one expression.
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