"Being Unorganized Is So Taxing"
Tax Time Organizing
Most people think of Tax Time as being the worst time of year! Sorting through papers trying to get organized enough to even start working on your taxes is overwhelming! I know it seems like a daunting task, but if you take a little bit of extra time when you are going through your documents for tax preparation, it will make every year from here on out a breeze!
I love having things electronic, but I am a tactile person and still like having hard copies of certain things.
1. Keep everything financial at arms length, by doing this, you will be much more effective and more productive. You will also be less inclined to let things pile up. I prefer using a filing drawer or two in my desk.
2. Keep a trashcan near your workspace and toss all trash immediately, don’t let it pile up on your desk!
3. Paperwork is always best stored vertically than horizontally, use a pretty vertical letter holder.
4. Start with some labels and file folders
5. On your computer, perhaps in Word, make a file named “File Folder Labels”; follow the instructions on the label envelope so that they will be formatted properly.
This is important because every year from here on out, you can just reprint the labels and start fresh.
Make labels for everything you can think of, including the following:
Credit card statements, a label for each one
Bank Accounts, a label for each one
Medical, perhaps naming individuals
School, perhaps naming individuals
Year-end Tax Documentation
What ever is relevant to your needs, ask your accountant
Make a file for receipts from each credit card and for cash
Clean out your purse and pockets regularly, sorting them out quickly and filing them in the correct folder.
This will help when looking for a receipt to make a return simple and easy
After referencing them with your statement, file the important receipts in additional files and dispose of the rest.
Make additional files for clothing, pets, furniture, gas, electronics, house, miscellaneous etc.
Make a file for anything that you feel there will be a lot of receipts for
If you have business related expenses, make sure and mark the receipt in red to make it easier to find later.
There a many apps available to help keep expenses organized, but I like to have hard copy backups. Receipts are audit protection! If you do keep most paperwork stored electronically, make sure that you have a separate back up somewhere.
Make a file labeled “Bills to Pay”. Check this file several times a month to stay on top of any bills.
Make a file labeled “Things Working On”, check this file regularly to make sure that you do not over look something that requires prompt attention
Make a file labeled “Need to File”, check this file a couple of times a week to keep it simple.
6. File everything regularly
Make sure to mark any paper copies paid and how, before filing
Take detailed notes on any documents that you are having problems with and make sure to get case numbers, names and extensions for possible future reference. This makes it easy if you have to refer to it at a later date.
7. Open all mail promptly and file it accordingly immediately, even if it goes in to your “To File” folder
8. Shred all documents that you will not need, you would be surprised what a creative criminal can do with many documents that we throw out.
9. Taking a few minutes every couple of days to stay on top of filing will save you hours of time and a potential headache at years end.
10. Next years year-end will be so much easier … print out your saved labels, pull last years files and store in a safe place just in case and start all over!
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