As we dive into the new year, one thing is on everyone’s mind – tax season! Particularly with our current political climate and the partial government shutdown, it’s important to be prepared and ready to file your taxes. Remember to check the IRS website for any updates or changes as the shutdown continues. For now, you have ample time to get organized and better yet, create a system to help you stay organized with tax paperwork all year long. Here are this NYC Professional Office Organizer’s top four tips to help you organize your tax paperwork system in the new year.
1. Create a filing process for tax documents. Create a set of file folders for the year and include all tax related paperwork and reports as you accumulate them. Schedule time monthly to sort through your paperwork and file it chronologically. Make sure that your folders are clearly labeled. Misplacing tax documents will cause quite the headache later on!
2. Make a list. Create (and update as needed) a checklist of tax documents that you’ll need in order to file. Store the master copy on your computer and each year’s copy in your file for that year’s taxes updating it accordingly. This might include adding new jobs or clients, as you will expect tax documents for each one. Include on your list the basics – expense reports, tax ID numbers, and more. It’s easy to forget some out-of-the-ordinary tax documents that you don’t receive every year, so adding them to a list is imperative. The last thing you want is to file your taxes and then remember that extra form this year and have to file an amended return.
3. Create a system for collecting receipts. Don’t let receipts get lost in the depths of 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(s), 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. Better yet, you can also scan your receipts and store them digitally. This saves space in your office, but also allows you to search quickly if you need to.
4. Print important documents. Designate time monthly to either download or print out banking and credit card statements and file them away immediately. If you are sent any tax documents from clients, file them as received 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. Implementing this system now will help you roll right into next year prepared and ready to go!
For more paperwork organizing strategies, reach out to your NYC Professional Office Organizer today.