How I Survived Tax Season

Analytics/ Analysis

By Harry Brelsford

Like many small business owners, the U.S. tax season came faster than I had anticipated. And having recently moved from Seattle, WA to Austin, TX, a lot of my records were in moving boxes and disorganized. Add to that I recently changed bookkeepers and use a new accounting firm in Tampa, FL. I was going to need to rapidly orchestrate my tax filing process to meet the April 18, 2022 deadline!


Enter the Cannon imageFORMULA R40 document scanner. The small form factor scanner fit on a desktop in my home office easily enough. The scanner didn’t come with an extensive printed manual but essentially the setup was plug-and-play with only the power and USB cord being attached. I then downloaded the latest drivers and Canon application to start using it (however the instructions made assumptions about you installing the power cable and USB cable correctly). Another thing I had to think about was installing the plastic paper guide at the top of the scanner.


The first test was a large number of tax-related documents that I needed to scan for my accountant. The scanning speed was excellent and by default the two-sided scanning saved me tons of time compared to my flatbed scanner where I’d have to Cannonmanually flip pages over. A super duper bonus was that the default output was a PDF file (my flatbed scanner saves as a JPEG and I have to convert to a PDF inside Adobe Acrobat!). With the PDF creation, the scanner created just one PDF for all of the pages in a particular scan job so I didn’t have to combine files inside Adobe Acrobat. Another jewel was the one-touch button to launch the scanning application and complete the scan job (saving keystrokes).

After the scan job completed, to be honest, it wasn’t clear where the scanner had stored my PDF documents. I expected the storage folder to be “Scanned Documents” inside “Documents” like the Microsoft Window Fax and Scan application but such was not the case. Instead, I found the scanned documents inside the “Pictures” folder. Trying to change the location to save scanned documents was challenging for me so I just keep the default location (given I’d be cutting and pasting the documents into different folders on OneDrive).

Final Musings

The Canon R40 is a plow horse and rock start for my business. However, I kept the flat bed scanner as well to safely scan sensitive documents such as my passport, my (aged) paper birth certificate and stacks of business cards from conferences (admittedly you can scan business card with the Canon R40 but I didn’t test that.

As of this writing, the Canon R40 is $329.00 at Amazon which appears to be a slight increase in price from the past (not a surprise as all electronics are more expensive now).


  • Automatically creates PDFs
  • Supports a variety of output formats in addition to PDF
  • One-Touch
  • Excellent color resolution when scanning
  • Great scanning speed
  • Ease of use
  • Two-sided scanning by default
  • Auto-naming uses your organization name with a date and time stamp in the file name


  • Can’t be networked for a workgroup to share the scanner
  • A challenge to save the scanned document save location