It’s that time of year again… are you ready to file your taxes? Gathering the necessary paperwork and documents for your tax appointment can be a stressful task. As a Professional Organizer in NYC who helps clients organize paperwork, I see this struggle every year. Instead of having a plan in place to keep tax paperwork organized throughout the year, most people wait until it’s time to file their taxes before they begin to gather everything they need. Not only is this approach overwhelming, but you can also miss important documents that could result in penalties if not filed appropriately. Here are my top four tips to help you create a year-long system for managing your tax paperwork.
Using a checklist is a MUST. Every year things change – new jobs, new clients, new tax requirements. In order to keep yourself organized, create a checklist of the tax documents you’ll need to file based on your own specific situation. Remember to include documents like expense reports, tax ID numbers, proof of health insurance, and whatever other information is needed based on your unique situation.
Create a filing process for tax documents. Create a specific folder for the year and include all tax paperwork and reports that you’ll need as you accumulate them. Schedule time monthly to sort through your paperwork and file it chronologically. Make sure that your folder (or folders, if needed) are clearly labeled. Not only will this save you time before your tax appointment, but it will also ensure that nothing is misplaced or missed.
Develop a system for collecting receipts. Don’t let receipts get lost in your desk drawers, briefcase, or handbag. Instead, file them away as they are accumulated so you don’t misplace anything of importance! Designate a folder, plastic envelope, or accordion file to collect receipts. Add any notes to the receipt before storing it away. This is important if the reason for the receipt isn’t clear. You can also scan your receipts and store them digitally. This not only saves space in your office, but also allows you to search quickly if you need to.
Print any important documents. Designate time monthly to print out bank and credit card statements and file them away immediately. If you receive any tax documents or donation acknowledgements, print those out now instead of waiting until the end of the year and having to frantically search for everything.
By keeping track of your tax documents throughout the year and organizing them in a clear fashion, you’ll save yourself time when tax season rolls around as you’ll already have your important documents organized and ready to go. If you need more help organizing paperwork in your office, this Professional Organizer in NYC is here to help.